Sir Alan Beith slams Ministry of Justice in House of Commons debate
The “shambolic” introduction of a new police interpreter service is still causing problems today, a senior MP has warned.
Sir Alan Beith (Lib Dem, Berwick-upon-Tweed) warned that problems caused by the introduction of a new translation service were continuing.
He was leading a Commons debate in his role as chair of the Justice Select Committee, which published a report into the problems earlier this year.
The Ministry of Justice had begun to get a grip on the issue but now the problem was getting worse again, he said.
Translators had previously been employed directly by courts or police forces but Applied Language Solutions offered lower fees and travel expenses - which in some cases meant their income would be halved. It also began recruiting people who were not fully qualified.
As a result, many translators boycotted the new system. But without them, court cases and police interviews could not proceed and some forces had to release suspects on bail because they could not get interpreters for police station interviews.
Sir Alan said: “Performance has still not reached required standards. If anything it has slipped back.”
Sir Alan also hit out at the Ministry for ordering staff not to co-operate with his inquiry.