HC Deb 25 April 1887 vol 313 cc1792-3
MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the Government will furnish a return of the interpreters who have been officially appointed in the several petty sessional divisions of the County of Flint, the date of their appointment, and the salary, if any, attached to the office; whether they are sworn on their first appointment or in every separate case; whether he has any information to show that some of the interpreters who act are most inefficient; whether, in some of the petty sessional divisions, the police act as interpreters; and, whether he will consider the advisability of forbidding policemen, who are official informers, to act as interpreters in a Court of Justice?


I am informed, by the Clerks of the Peace, that no interpreters have been officially appointed in the several petty sessional divisions of the county. In three out of the seven petty sessional divisions in which Welsh is spoken, a clerk in the magistrate's clerk's office has acted as interpreter for more than 20 years without payment, unless in very exceptional eases. In the remaining four divisions, I believe the police do sometimes act as interpreters. Interpreters are sworn in each case, as and when required. I have no information to show that some of them are inefficient. No complaint of their inefficiency has reached me. I see no practical objection to the employment of police constables as interpreters. They are intelligent men, sworn to interpret truly. Most of the cases are not police cases; and, moreover, the practice constitutes a great saving of expense.