Perceptions and profiles of interviews with interpreters: A police survey

Shellee Wakefield, Mark Kebbell, Stephen MOSTON, Nina Westera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Policing organisations across the developed world increasingly need language interpreters to communicate with non-native speaking people. Little research has investigated police perceptions of using interpreter services, despite their growing need, documented concerns and lack of a widely accepted best practice. A survey of 413 police officers documented interpreted interviews in Australia and assessed police perceptions of those interviews. Interviews carried out by police included a higher number of suspect interviews and interviews via telephone interpreters. Cases more often involved sexual assault, assault and domestic violence. Indigenous people, victims and witnesses were identified as potentially vulnerable to not being provided interpreters. Police views on the use of interpreting services were generally positive; however, length of interviews, cost and inadequate training were identified as potential deterrents. Implications for police are discussed, as are ways to reduce negative police perceptions, create informed guidelines and improve interpreting service use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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