INTERPRETERS have cost Warwickshire Police more than £375,000 in the past three years.
The figures were released after a Freedom of Information request by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Philip Seccombe.
They revealed some £120,000 was spent on expenses with £250,000 paid for interpreter services.
This year has been the most expensive yet for the force, with more than £130,000 covering the cost of interpreters – a £17,000 rise on the previous year. The growing number of economic migrants heading to these shores who cannot speak English very well, or in some cases at all, is believed to be at the root of the spiralling costs.
Mr Seccombe – who hopes to take over from current PCC Ron Ball when he stands down next year – believes the police cannot afford to keep spending huge sums on the service.
He said: “The police cannot afford to continue spending this type of money on interpreters with the rise on last year a particular worry.
“It is important we keep a tight rein on the cost of translation as the priority should always be to place resource into frontline and the neighbourhoods they serve.”
But the force say providing interpreters is ‘vital’ to the community.
Asst Ch Con Nav Malik said: “With a diverse community within Warwickshire we have a duty to provide a vital method of communication to protect vulnerable members of our community from harm and access to our services so that they can seek assistance and help.
“If an officer finds that they are unable to communicate effectively with a person whether they be a witness, under arrest or having attended voluntarily then they will call on the services of a translator, either over the phone or in person.”