Court interpreters' CRB checks bypassed
9 August 2012
It has emerged that court interpreters are working in England and Wales without having passed the necessary criminal record checks.
The company who holds the contract for supplying interpreters to the courts and is responsible for carrying out their CRB checks is ALS, based in Oldham.
But one interpreter working for ALS, who did not wish to be identified, described security checks as “non-existent”.
Speaking to the BBC, he said the swiftness of the recruitment process meant there was no window within which a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check could possibly take place.
"I just did it online. I hadn't filled in my references or work experience; they rang me up the next morning and offered me jobs. There was no chance to check anything; they didn't.”
The interpreter went on to express fears that such lax security measures could allow criminals to access sensitive information by falsely signing up as an interpreter, which he said would be “pretty easy”.
An attempt by a man to register his cat as an interpreter with ALS also raises concerns.
Neil McCafferty is the projects director of translation company Talk Russian UK, whose wife has worked as a court interpreter.
He said: "We signed her up for the rare cat language. We were absolutely staggered to start receiving emails from the company suggesting we take Masha the cat for a language assessment.”
Later he registered in his own name and was offered work despite having no qualifications or a CRB check, about which he said: "I was absolutely shocked when on their mobile phone app it was offering me work - I could have been anybody."
"I could have been trying to access the criminal justice system for all sorts of unpleasant reasons. That in itself is incredibly frightening."
ALS, which has already been criticised heavily for various aspects of its service, vowed to remove from its register any interpreters found to have not undergone the necessary checks.