West Midlands Police routinely bail suspects as no ALS interpreter is available
Seven months into the contract with Applied Language Solutions, and West Midlands Police still don't get quality or value for money.
In April this year two people who needed an interpreter were detained for Section 18, Wounding. 18 hours later as no interpreter had been provided by ALS they were bailed. The suspects did not answer their bail so the detectives in the case had to struggle to get in touch with them. They asked for my help as the inspector had authorised payment at the old rates. We then found out that one of the suspects had left the country whilst the other one had been remanded in custody at a prison further south, having reoffended.
So the officer in the case, myself and the solicitor travel 50 miles, for 1 hour 30 minutes to this prison to interview him. During the interview the detective was not able to read the witness statement as it was so badly translated into English (even though this would have been the main piece of evidence in the case).
We are yet to make contact with the second suspect. So how much money will this case cost West Midlands Police? This is one case of many that we don't get to hear about.
Whilst at another police station (not under ALS control) I met a police legal representative. When talking to her about the interpreting fiasco in the West Midlands area she told me that nowadays it was common practice for suspects who needed interpreters to be bailed. The same rep told me that at a police station she had a linguist who interpreted the consultation between herself and the suspect only to be surprised to find out that she was required to stay and interpret during the interview as well!!
I'm sure there are many more stories such as these which will take a while to come to light.