Daily Mail: Migrant surge pushes police translation bill up £22 million

Thursday, 30 October, 2008

POLICE spending on interpreters has rocketed by more than 60 per cent to £22million a year, following the recent influx of migrants.

Some forces have seen their translation bill soar by more than 400 per cent, as regions previously untouched by mass migration absorb large numbers of arrivals from Eastern Europe.

The Conservatives said this was draining taxpayers' cash from priority areas such as fighting crime.

Tory police spokesman David Ruffley , who unearthed details of the spending surge, said: 'These figures suggest we are importing more foreign criminals.

'As a result, police budgets are being hit and the sums involved could be better spent on more frontline policing of our streets.'

Mr Ruffley discovered through Freedom of Information requests that the police bill for translation had soared from £13,580,599 in 2003/04 - the year before the EU expanded eastwards - to £22,178,040 last year.

The final bill is likely to be more than £25million, as only 43 of the UK's 51 police forces fully responded.

Ministers have been criticised for pouring money into interpreting services, instead of focusing on teaching English to incomers. New immigration minister Phil Woolas has signalled he wants this approach to change.