The chief of police in Leicestershire, England, warned that people trying to pass themselves off as interpreters “will be dealt with.”
Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police Simon Cole issued the warning after a woman was caught presenting a fake document when attempting to register as an interpreter. The woman later admitted to fraud by representation and was required to complete a rehabilitation course.
According to West Yorkshire Police, the woman provided a certificate as proof of her qualifications that was later identified as fake during a security check by staff at thebigword, the language services provider contracted by the Leicestershire Police.
“This sort of criminality will not be tolerated. Not only is it deceitful, but it puts the criminal justice system at risk,” Cole said. “We have worked with our approved language services providers to ensure forged and false documents can be identified effectively.”
“This recent arrest highlights how effective that work has been. I am pleased that a potential risk to the police and criminal justice system from the fake interpreter has been prevented at the earliest opportunity.”
“We take both vetting and security very seriously at thebigword and have a rigorous onboarding procedure that makes certain each qualification we receive is thoroughly checked,” said Mark Daley, chief operating officer at thebigword.
The case comes after a number of changes were made to security protocols as a result of when a man illegally posed as a court interpreter, earning a total of £65,000. In February 2021, Mirwais Patang pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud, three counts of forgery, and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud at Southwark Crown Court. He was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and must complete 300 hours of unpaid work.
“Further specialist training is being provided next month to all approved suppliers so that we remain vigilant to identify criminals attempting to access language services as a form of employment when they don’t have the formal qualifications and experience necessary,” said Mark Lewis, national police contract manager for language services for the Leicestershire Police.
“Professional linguists and the public alike will be reassured by this firm and decisive collective action in the protection of standards and the safer and fairer outcomes that properly qualified public service interpreters assure in the criminal justice system,” said John Worne, chief executive officer of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. “This is a genuine win for public safety and professional standards.”
Author: Dunphy, Finvola
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