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Fake Interpreters will be caught

08 Sep 2021

Police want to be clear that criminals who pretend to be interpreters will be caught and be dealt with.

Highlighting recent national cases where fraudsters have been caught red-handed and the subsequent changes in policy to bring in tighter security, NPCC's lead for Language Services Chief Constable Simon Cole says that these fraudsters will not be tolerated.

A 34-year-old woman, from Wakefield, received a conditional caution after she admitted fraud by false representation. She was invited for interview by West Yorkshire Police after she had presented a fake document in an attempt to be registered as an interpreter. The caution requires her to complete a rehabilitation course.

The woman had applied to be an interpreter and when asked to provide proof of her qualifications she presented a certificate which was later identified as a fake by specially trained staff at thebigword, who are responsible for security checks for candidates.

The case comes after a number of changes were made to security protocols when a man illegally posed as an court interpreter, earning a total of £65,000. 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 on 12 February 2021.He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, and must complete 300 hours of unpaid work.

 National Police Chief’s Council Lead for Language Services, Chief Constable Simon Cole said:

‘This sort of criminality will not be tolerated. Not only is it deceitful but it puts the criminal justice system at risk. We have worked with our approved language service 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.

"In particular I am grateful to thebigword staff and West Yorkshire Police for the way this matter has been speedily and efficiently dealt with.”

National Police Contract Manager for Language Services Mark Lewis said: 

“Whilst this was a great result, we are not complacent. 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.

"I would like to publicly recognise the great work undertaken by thebigword Linguist Recruitment Team to identify and report this crime in a timely fashion”.

Mark Daley, Chief Operating Officer at thebigword said:

“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. This strict vetting process ensures that we have the highest quality professionals in our network of linguists, who can aid our clients such as the police.”

John Worne, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Linguists said:

 “Professional linguists and the public alike will be reassured by this firm and decisive collective action in protection of standards and the safer and fairer outcomes that properly qualified public service interpreters assure in the criminal justice system. This is a genuine win for public safety and professional standards.”