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Interpreting Costs (6616_17)


I would like to know how much your force has spent in the last year on interpreters, used to translate, for those who have been arrested in the UK?


Unfortunately our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information, without undertaking a manual examination of each instance where an interpreter was used during the requested period.

Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)).

Therefore, the cost of compliance with your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12 of the Freedom of information Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or section 14 applies must, within the time for complying with Section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this email acts as a refusal notice.

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill our Language Services Manager has calculated approximate costs in relation to your request and provided the following response. I trust that this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for this request.

“I can confirm West Midlands Police spent £1,281,728 on language services in financial year 2016/17.

While it is not possible to give an absolute figure that can be attributed exclusively to expenditure on detained persons, I can confirm:

  • Approximately 10% of the above figure will have been spent on telephone interpreting services (£128,173), which would have been predominantly used by people in custody – or by police officers to communicate with people in custody;
  • 1.5% would have been spent on translation services (£19,226); and
  • 88.5% will have been spent on face-to-face communication where a linguist was present with a deaf/ hard-of-hearing or non-English speaking person (£1,134,328). Approximately half would have been spent in support of people in custody and half in support of victims and witnesses.

Accordingly, approximately £120,000 of telephone interpreting expenditure and £567,164 of face-to-face interpreting expenditure can be attributed directly to those people taken into custody by West Midlands Police during financial year 2016/17 (Grand total £687,164).”


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