HL Deb 19 April 2000 vol 612 cc115-6WA
Lord Swinfen

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in the interests of justice, the accuracy of Sign Language interpretation of all police interviews with profoundly deaf suspects and witnesses can be checked at a later date; and, if not, what steps they are taking to correct this situation. [HL1987]

Lord Bach

The Codes of Practice which regulate the conduct of police interviews with suspects contain a number of safeguards for suspects who are profoundly deaf or hard of hearing. These include the requirement for an interpreter and for a contemporaneous written note of the interview to be made, as well as an audio tape recording. The interpreter is also given an opportunity to read the record of the interview and to certify its accuracy in the event of his being called to give evidence. In addition, it is open to chief officers to video-record interviews with deaf suspects with their consent.

There is currently no requirement to tape-record interviews with witnesses, but the interpreter and the witness are able to read over their statement and certify its accuracy.