Cops, Capita and Christmas
For more than 2 years the Police in the North West have been using CTI (Capita Translation and Interpreting, formally Applied Language Solutions) to source interpreters. This Christmas (2013) the system still appears to be failing as I received some urgent requests for an interpreter by other means. I am not registered with CTI by choice.
On Saturday 28th December two detainees had been arrested and taken to Wrexham Custody (North Wales Police). Three attempts had been been made to get a Lithuanian interpreter through CTI with no success. On Sunday 29th December I was contacted by WITS for this urgent job, I turned up promptly and it was quite a simple matter to interview and deal with them.
On 31st December in the late afternoon there was a direct call from GMP Pendleton Custody. It was a rape case and they needed an interpreter to deal with the accused urgently. CTI had not been able to provide one so they were authorised to look elsewhere. On arrival, a custody officer recognised me after 2 years and said they don't get to see the old interpreters anymore and miss us [warm feeling]. She even found the old claim form! The job was done to everyone's satisfaction.
On 1st January I was called directly by Lancashire Police to come to Skelmersdale urgently to deal with the victim of a s18 assault. They had tried all morning through CTI and got nowhere. The Det. Ch. Inspector authorised booking me at the old rates. I turned up with an old form, took 2 statements and left 6h 30mins later. The officers were complaining about this job taking so long because of the delay caused by CTI. All five of them were now on overtime at double-rate. I told them I was on double-rate too. So much for saving money!
On 2nd January WITS called me about an urgent job in St Asaph Custody after yet another no-supply by CTI. Unfortunately, I had too little time to take this job so the detained person will have had to wait in custody even longer.
The CTI system is clearly still unable to provide a complete service. The 3 forces above (NWP, GMP and Lancashire Police) signed up to the NW contract with ALS (now CTI) before the FWA with the Courts started. It didn't work for them then and apears to be not working now. Those 'on the ground' know too well how bad it is while those 'above' are keeping quiet about a bad decision to outsource.
I am not sure how or even if I will be paid by GMP and Lancs Police for helping them but this can be dealt with in due course.