The changing face of language service provision for the Metropolitan Police Service – 2012 and beyond
Amanda Clement, Michael Brooker, MET, London
On 22nd October 2008 The Metropolitan Police Service Investment Board agreed plans for an overhaul of the MPS response to the challenges posed by languages in London. There are now around 340 different languages spoken in the capital and in addition to London’s attraction as a major tourist centre, over 50 diverse communities consisting of more than 10,000 residents have chosen to make London their home.
Over the next 3 years, the MPS Language Programme will be introducing a number of measures to improve the day to day efficiency and effectiveness of its language services to both the citizens of London and to front line operational staff. This Programme, which has been introduced following a detailed examination of MPS arrangements, has drawn not only from best practice within the UK but also that from Europe and the US.
The Programme plans the following measures:
- Introduction of a Management Service Centre with 24/7 responsibility and a single dedicated number, which will manage all requests for linguistic support from MPS.
- Installation of a video conferencing platform which will speed access to linguistic support and reduce costs incurred by travel time and expenses
- Creation of an “own staff” training programme to make optimum use of the language skills inherent in our workforce, for appropriate tasks.
By November 2009, the Programme will have completed a wide-ranging consultation, which includes police officers and police staff, interpreters and other UK criminal justice system agencies. We will have our first video-conferencing hubs operational, and a 6-month pilot will have been established, which seeks to draw on the experiences of all those using this method of service delivery, in order to develop techniques and training.
We will update the conference, by way of Powerpoint Presentation and discussion, with the background to and the progress of the Programme to date, specifying particularly, how the consultation with interpreters was managed and how their concerns were addressed, and the template for evaluation of the video-conferencing pilot, together with any early-emerging issues.