The National Police Dynamic Purchasing System for Language Services
Welcome to the webpage for police language services. This page provides information relating to the use of interpreters for police assignments as well as contact details for those managing the services.
We live in a multi-cultural society and many people who do not speak fluent English come into contact with police officers and staff. They may be witnesses, victims, suspects or they may just need advice from their police service. In order for the police to effectively communicate with those who speak limited, or no English, they engage interpreters and translators to assist them. The same is true for those who require some form of non-spoken interpreter.
Police Use of Interpreters and Translators
The interpreters used by police forces across the UK are usually engaged through a Language Service Provider (LSP) via a formal contract.
Those deployed to police assignments must hold a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) with the law element, or a diploma in Police Interpreting (DPI). They must hold Non-Police Personnel Vetting at Level 3 (NPPV3) and they must have completed a number of hours experience in public service interpreting before undertaking police assignments. There are separate requirements for non-spoken interpreters.
There are always exceptions for when interpreters are urgently required, and none with the correct requirements are available. In this instance, the use of the interpreter must be risk assessed and approved by an officer of the rank of at least Inspector.
The National Police Chiefs Council has recommended a system of approving interpreters and translators that ensures every interpreter and translator holds the required qualifications, vetting and experience to undertake police assignments. Police Approved Interpreters and Translators (PAIT) are authorised by Leicestershire Police on behalf of all police forces in England and Wales.
Guidance for Police on use of Interpreters and translators
The College of Policing has issued guidance for police officers on the use of interpreters and translators, as well as guidance on briefing them.
This guidance is of interest to interpreters and translators and so is available for download from the College of Policing website:
- Briefing the interviewee: aide-memoire for interpreterassisted interviews
- Briefing note: Using language services
- Working with an interpreter: aide-memoire for interpreterassisted interviews
Dynamic Procurement System (DPS) for Language Services
A list of suppliers on the National Police Dynamic Purchasing System for Language Services can be downloaded here.
Police Approved Interpreters/Translators (PAIT Scheme)
Chief Constables across the UK have signed up to a scheme whereby interpreters and translators undertaking police assignments will be approved by Leicestershire Police.
One master list will be held for the benefit of all forces.
The scheme will be implemented in 2021 and is currently in the consultation and development phase.
A document introducing the PAIT Scheme to police forces can be downloaded here.
The national lead for police use of language services is Chief Constable Simon Cole of Leicestershire Police, who advises Government and other forces around the UK on best practice.
Assisting the lead is a team of subject matter experts who also provide support to forces and liaise with interpreter and translator representative bodies.
Ian Fraser MCIPS
Head of Procurement and Support Services
Contract Management and information regarding police use of interpreters/translators
Mark Lewis MBA, BSc (Hons), CMGR, FCMI, FInstLM
National Police Contract Manager – Language Services
Police code of ethics
Any person contracted to supply goods or services to police forces in the UK, is subject to the Police Code of Ethics.