Police spend £82m on translators in 3 years

August 25, 2011 by totalityservices

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A Freedom of Information request made by Police Review magazine unearthed that the police forces in Britain have spent £82million on translators and interpreters over the last 3 years.

You may well be taken aback by this impressive amount, but let’s try to look at this rationally and put this figure into a bit of perspective. In just one year (2010) Government spending totalled £669billion, of which £34billion was spent on “Protection” , £19billion was spent on “General Government” and £88billion was spent on “Other Spending”, so what’s £82million of 3 whole years when compared to these hefty, yearly, billion pound sums?

I came across an article recently that claimed that this £82million bill would pay for an extra 3542 police constables each year, but what’s that got to do with the price of fish I ask! I would think that the “problem” here is plain for any layman to comprehend, the police are spending on language services, the highest bills being paid by the Metropolitan police in London, where the highest concentration of languages are spoken, so why is it that so many detainees and possibly witnesses are unable to understand and speak the English language?

I fail to understand why there is not more being done to merge ethnic minorities and foreign language speaking communities into the wider English community. The majority of these communities have done an awful lot for the country in which they now reside and have made significant efforts to integrate into the English culture, whilst retaining their cultural identities. I know from experience however, that these efforts have been made independently, with little encouragement or guidance from governing bodies, which ties in quite nicely with the home secretary Theresa May’s half-hearted pledge that all non-European immigrants would have to learn basic English before receiving a visa. So that’s some reassuring news hey, but what about all the non-English speakers that already reside in the UK? What are you going to do about them Theresa?

The problem as I see it is far deeper than implementing preventive measures or cutting police spending on translation services, what we should be asking ourselves as a society is what are we doing to assist those members of our community who still struggle to communicate with us today?

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