ALS: incompetence or an attempt to avoid confrontation with HMCTS?
I remember talking to a custody sergeant at Boston police station in early February. They had just been told to use Applied Language Solutions for all first court appearance and warrant bookings. What he told me was an interpreter request was placed around 10 pm the day before, and by the following morning no response was received from ALS. The duty sergeant assumed all was fine and sent the Polish suspect to court in the morning. Later that morning he received a phone call from ALS saying that they couldn’t provide an interpreter and asked the sergeant to let the court know. The sergeant was flabbergasted. Of course, as far as he was concerned, his job was done and he didn’t have to tell the court anything, he produced the prisoner before the next available court. He explained this to ALS in no uncertain terms.
What followed next was he was asked by ALS to give them the phone number for the court! I am wondering what exactly was behind this: pure incompetence or an attempt to avoid confrontation with the court for the failure to provide an interpreter? I have heard colleagues reporting exactly the same behaviour by ALS when talking to custody staff in other parts of the country.
Of course, I already reported the continuation of this story before, which found itself quoted by Channel 4 a few weeks ago. A Polish interpreter from ALS turned up in court at 2.30 pm, wearing a hat and overalls, with no notebook or bag. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad… How much longer?