Big increase in Derbyshire police spending on English translators
Derbyshire police spent an extra £100,000 on foreign language translators in 2018 than in previous years.
The force had to find translators of 45 different languages last year to help them quiz suspects and communicate with witnesses and victims who do not speak English.
Interpreters were used on nearly 1,500 occasions in Derbyshire last year.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that Derbyshire police spent almost £400,000 on hiring language experts during 2018. This was up by a third since 2013 when the figure was just over £289,000.
Translators were called out to assist the police in 1,476 cases with Polish topping the most popular call outs with 289 cases. Second was Slovakian at 218, followed by Romanian at 162.
The rarest languages that needed to be translated were Romany, Ukrainian, Nepalese, Amharic (the official language of Ethiopia), Oromo (an African language spoken in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt), Akan (spoken in Ghana), Gujarati, Mandinka (spoken in Gambia), Greek, Croatian and Tetun (spoken on the island of Timor) with one case each.
Lipspeaking was also used on one occasion, a lipspeaker being a hearing person trained to repeat a speakers message accurately to lipreaders.
Translators and interpreters are called to help the police talk to someone when they don't speak English. They are funded by the police.
The increase could be a result of a focus by police on crimes that require translators. Operation Doubrava, for example, was the largest modern slavery investigation the force has ever conducted. It began in September 2017 and, to date, 13 people have been arrested.
A Derbyshire police spokesperson said: “The figures provided in response to the Freedom of Information request relate to translation services covering anyone coming into contact with us, and not just those who are suspected of committing crimes.
“Similar to police force areas across the country, Derbyshire has many different people who live, work and visit our county. These people come from a variety of backgrounds, with many of whom do not speak English as a first language.
“Translation services are absolutely crucial to investigations, and are used for talking to victims of crime, witnesses and suspects.
“Officers need to be sure that the people they speak to understand the questions they are being asked, so they can give correct answers and ensure a fair, thorough and expedient investigation.”