HIRING intepreters and translating official documents will cost Essex Police more than half a million pounds this financial year.

The force estimates the bill for providing the service for foreigners will reach £510,000 by the end of this month, with the most common languages including Polish, Russian, Romanian and Portuguese.

The expenditure has been backed by immigrants to Southend, who say it is essential they can communicate with police.

Jerzi Kucelski, 21, of York Road, Southchurch, moved to the town from Krakow, in south Poland, eighteen months ago.

He said: “It’s very important to have that kind of thing. Some of us, the younger ones usually, have learnt a bit of English anyway.

“But for older people it can be a problem.

“We try, but we can’t all speak English really well straightaway.

“If we can’t talk to the police, then we can’t fit in to society.”

Essex Police spent £575,857 on translation last year and at one point estimated the bill for this year could reach more than £600,000.

The force also spent £15,000 in 2009 writing a booklet on UK law with Crime Reduction Partnerships and the Essex Criminal Justice Board. The pamphlet was published in nine languages, including English.

Officers say the cost of translation is money well spent, as intepreters are used to talk to witnesses and victims as well as suspects.

A police spokeswoman said: “Like other areas, Essex has experienced a growth in new communities.

“The county has two major international entry points into the country in Harwich port and Stansted airport.

“In keeping with the trend across other forces, Essex Police has seen an increase in the amount spent on using interpreters and translation services.”