Earlier this week, Mark Lewis, a highly experienced ex-police employee, ex-hostage negotiator, counter-terrorism specialist and former thebigword Police contract manager took the brave step to face the interpreting community via a webinar to discuss the new national police framework from his seat as National Police Contract Manager for Leicestershire Police.
PERFECT FOR THE ROLE
Seeing Mr. Lewis’s extensive credentials and experience with both LSPs and the police, one could hardly imagine a more suitable candidate to front this role and I’m positive that he can add real value to both Police and Interpreters. Language professionals ‘flocked’ to the event (at least virtually) from all over the country, hoping to hear some positive news with regards to the topics that affect them most. Mark did a great job of informing the community of the ‘what, where, when and why’ associated with the framework. He continued with a very fair and reasonable handling of interpreter questions and answers. The majority of attendees we’ve spoken to after the event welcomed the information. Others honed in on the ‘important stuff’…..
CONTINUATION OF THE SAME THEMES
“What important stuff?”, I hear you say. Well, of course its the key items that are always high priority for interpreters. Amongst the discussed topics were: rates, the required qualification level of interpreters providing assistance to the police, the application of rates according to geographical area, the LSP selection process – who gets offered a job, when rates will be defined etc. The list went on.
DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT QUALIFICATIONS…
Some interpreters, horrifying as it may seem, recounted tales of how there were instances of bilinguals (note the difference!) taking on these assignments without any suitable qualifications! It is bewildering to imagine how an unqualified, inexperienced person can feel in such a high-pressured setting of a custody interview in the dead of the night, or taking a witness statement from a victim of some heinous crime. It’s also acceptable for qualified interpreters to feel aggrieved that assignments are being taken away from them via the use of non-appropriately qualified interpreters. Should someone with a Level 3 Community Interpreting qualification really be supporting the Police when in the main a DPSI qualified person is required (according to contract terms!)
IT CAN BE EXHILARATING…
It’s an exhilarating, exciting and fulfilling job to have. So exhilarating at times that it only seems reasonable that the right person is selected for the assignment. If you don’t have the right credentials, things can get messy for both interpreter, Police and limited English speaker. What was good to hear is that Mark Lewis is committed to getting it right within the parameters he is operating and the message received by ISL was that he does care!
GET QUALIFIED and GET IN THE MIX!
The Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting and/or the DPSI exam offered on a monthly basis by ISL will ensure you get the top-level skills and knowledge needed to excel in providing services to the Police. Perhaps even more importantly, it will put you in the strongest possible position to fight for the rights of qualified interpreters. As we said, times are a-changing…NOW is the right time to get qualified and be in the mix.