Language no barrier for NSW police force

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The NSW Police Force now has access to one of the country’s most extensive translating and interpreting services, capable of offering round the clock assistance in more than 100 different languages.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the new Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Police Force and Multicultural NSW would give Police access to more translators and interpreters statewide.

“This is a big win for police, local communities and those visiting our great state who may come in contact with police, but struggle with English,” Mr Toole said.

“When an incident arises it’s crucial that police have the tools they need to break down language barriers so they can communicate effectively and achieve positive outcomes.

“Police currently have access to more than 25 Multicultural Liaison Officers spread across the State to engage with communities at a grass roots level. The new, updated MOU will give police officers access to more translators and interpreters in more locations across NSW in person, virtually or via phone.

“These kinds of language services are more important than ever with more overseas travellers choosing to visit our regions and a record number of new arrivals and refugees choosing to work and settle in areas like Albury and Wagga Wagga. These regional communities can now be assured that they will have stronger communications support whenever they come into contact with their local police.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said the MOU offers the country’s largest Police Force improved access to the full suite of NSW Government language services, which will help them overcome language barriers and help improve relationship within communities.

“The NSW Government has invested heavily in building up our translating and interpreting workforce. Through the latest budget, a $16 million package has been secured to improve our whole-of-government language services,” Mr Coure said.

“We have more than 1,400 language professionals that can be called on by Police around the clock to support face-to-face, online or even over the phone interpreting and translating so they can better serve the people of NSW.

“This MOU is also a major job creator for interpreters and translators—with a greater demand for our language services comes more job opportunities and new career pathways.

“We know there are people right across NSW who are eager to use their language skills to become translators and interpreters. We have seen 400 people successfully complete our scholarships program to become fully qualified interpreters—the more opportunities there are for people to use their skills, the more we will see this number grow.

“The scholarships program has expanded to include translators, giving even more residents jobs and career opportunities.”

NSW Police Force Corporate Sponsor for Multiculturalism, Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said greater access to translators and interpreters will be a huge asset to police officers across the State.  

“Our job as police officers is to keep everyone safe, whatever language they speak,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“This Memorandum will strengthen the interactions we have with linguistically diverse communities, as well as foreign visitors, to ultimately make NSW a safer place for everyone.”

Multicultural NSW CEO Joseph La Posta said the enhanced partnership will help ensure NSW has a sustainable and thriving Language Services industry.

“As we welcome more and more people from all corners of the globe, the demand for language experts increases,” Mr La Posta said.

As part of the MOU, NSW Police Force will have access to Multicultural NSW’s full suite of language services at all local area commands across the state.

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