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    YET ANOTHER 'TAKE A HIKE' FROM FOI TO VEXATIOUSMAN

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    Sykes

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    YET ANOTHER 'TAKE A HIKE' FROM FOI TO VEXATIOUSMAN

    Post  Sykes on Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:56 pm

    Re: New Freedom of Information Act request 5 Sep 2014 to Leicestershire Constabulary about the 'co-ordination group' set up under the chairmanship of their Head of Corporate Communications

    Post  Tony Bennett Today at 2:32 pm
    ANOTHER BLANKET REFUSAL

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Dear Mr Bennett,

    Freedom of Information Act 2000

    I write further to your request for information received 09/09/2014.

    I note you seek access to the following information:

    (1) "On 8 May 2007 Leicestershire Constabulary was asked to co-ordinate the UK response to assist the Portuguese enquiry on behalf of the UK Government and Association of Chief Police Officers. The Gold Strategy set on this date established that it was a Portuguese-led enquiry and that all actions would comply with requirements of Portuguese law including their Judicial Secrecy Act. Due to the unprecedented media interest in the UK, a co-ordination group was set up on behalf of law enforcement agencies and government departments to coordinate the media interaction and ensure that a consistent stance was taken. This co-ordinating group was chaired by the Head of Corporate Communications from Leicestershire Constabulary. That group has continued to meet as required since 2007", and (2) "Due to the thirst for information from the media, every individual working in Leicestershire supporting the police investigation signed a confidentiality agreement. Messages were also disseminated to all staff to make them aware that even private conversations with friends could be reported on in the media…the confidentiality agreement…was something that was put together by the Gold group who were running the enquiry as part of the U.K. effort, not by myself as Chief Constable".

    Please supply the following information to amplify these on-the-record public statements at a public enquiry by Matt Baggott:

    1. Who, on 8 May 2007, asked Matt Baggott to set up the ‘co-ordinating group’ to which he refers?

    2. Matt Baggott refers to the ‘Gold Strategy’ being set on the same date (8 May 2007). Which person or persons determined the ‘Gold Strategy’?

    3. What was the ‘Gold Strategy’ (please provide a copy of the document in physical or electronic form).

    Our Ref: 006473/14

    Your Ref:

    Address Correspondence to: Steven Morris, Information Management

    Date 20 October 2014

    4. Matt Baggott says: "…a co-ordination group was set up on behalf of law enforcement agencies and government departments…" Please state the date this coordination group was set up and the date of its first meeting.

    5. Please list all ‘law enforcement agencies’, ‘government departments’ and any other individuals, groups or agencies who were members of this co-ordinating group (a) at its outset and (b) at any time during its existence.

    6. Who was the Head of Corporate Communications for Leicestershire Police when the co-ordinating group was set up? Does he still chair this group? If not, please give the names of those persons who have subsequently chaired this group, with the dates of any changes.

    7. On what date was it decided that (quote Matt Baggott) ‘every individual working in Leicestershire supporting the police investigation’ must sign a confidentialty agreement?

    8. Please supply in physical or electronic form a copy of the confidentiality agreement.

    9. How many staff in total signed the confidentiality agreement?

    10. Is the ‘co-ordination group’ still in existence?

    11. On what dates, and at what locations, has the co-ordination group met since 8 May 2007?

    12. Was the co-ordination group at any time (and if so, on what date) made aware of the statements made in May 2007 by two General Practitioners, Drs Arul and Katharina Gaspar, which contained allegations against two members of the McCanns’ group of friends, and which was not delivered to the Portuguese Police until October 2007.

    Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Leicestershire Police to locate information relevant to your request.

    In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, (the Act), this response represents a Refusal Notice under Section 17(1) of the Act.

    Leicestershire Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds the information you requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Act does not apply by virtue of the following exemptions:

    Section 27(4) International Relations

    Section 30(3) Investigations

    Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
    Section 40(5) Personal Information

    REASONS FOR DECISION

    Should it be held, constituents of this information would attract Section 27, other constituents 30, other constituents 31 and other constituents Section 40 of the Act.

    It should not be surmised that should the information be held by the Leicestershire Police we would be applying Section’s 27, 30, 31 & 40 to the same pieces of information.

    Overall Harm with regard to Confirming or Denying that any information is held

    Any release under the Act is a disclosure to the world, not just to the individual making the request.

    Section 27 recognises that the effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between governments. If the United Kingdom does not maintain this trust and confidence, its ability to protect and promote UK interests through international relations will be hampered, which will not be in the public interest.

    Section 27 is a qualified exemption and as such there is a requirement to complete a test of the public interest in confirmation or denial.

    Section 30 is a class based qualified exemption and consideration of the public interest must be given as to whether neither confirming nor denying the information exists is the appropriate response.

    With Section 31 being prejudice based and qualified there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test.

    Harm in complying with Section 1(1)(a) - to confirm or deny whether information is held

    The Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information as recommended by the Bichard Inquiry and associated guidance, sets national standards for the management of police information, which includes intelligence material, its physical security and the security of sensitive material, such as personal information.

    They are the authority on all questions of integrity of intelligence material and must be included as part of the operational protocols of the National Intelligence Model. The National Intelligence Model is adhered to by all police forces across England and Wales.

    It is a business process with an intention to provide focus to operational policing and to achieve a disproportionately greater impact from the resources applied to any problem. It is dependent on a clear framework of analysis of information and intelligence allowing a problem solving approach to law enforcement and crime prevention techniques.

    Irrespective of what information is or isn't held, the impact of confirming or denying whether information is held for this request has the potential to undermine the flow of information, (intelligence), relating to a criminal investigation. This action would undermine both ongoing investigations and the Management of Police Information guidance. This could in turn lead to police officers having to be removed from their frontline duties in order to increase manpower on an investigation.

    In order to counter criminal behaviour it is vital that the police have the ability to work together, to obtain intelligence within current legislative frameworks to ensure the successful arrest and prosecution of offenders who commit or plan to commit acts of crime.

    In order to achieve this objective it is vitally important that information sharing takes place between police forces, police officers and members of the public as well as other security law enforcement bodies within the United Kingdom and abroad.

    Section 27(4) International Relations

    Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S27

    Releasing information on this issue would increase public knowledge about our relations with other countries, in particular Portugal.

    Factors against confirmation or denial for S27

    Section 27 recognises that the effective conduct of international relations depends  upon maintaining trust and confidence between governments.

    If the United Kingdom does not maintain this trust and confidence, its ability to protect and promote UK interests through international relations will be hampered, which will not be in the public interest.

    Section 30(3) Investigations

    Factors favouring confirmation or denial for Sec 30
    Information, if it were held, would be gathered for the purposes of an investigation.   Confirming or denying that information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed public in relation to when the Leicestershire Police initiate a criminal investigation which may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist investigations and reduce crime.

    There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that Leicestershire Police is appropriately and effectively dealing with crime.

    By confirming or denying the information you requested is held the public will be informed of investigations that public funds are spent on.

    Factors against confirmation or denial for Sec 30
    Confirming or denying the information you requested is held would hinder the investigative process. If this information were held, it would be held solely for the purpose of investigating a crime. It is not in the public interest to disrupt any investigative process by confirming or denying the information you requested is held.

    Leicestershire Police is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. The Leicestershire Police will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so would adversely affect these important roles.

    Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that Leicestershire Police is appropriately and effectively dealing with crime there is a strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of police investigations and operations and in maintaining confidence in Leicestershire Police.

    It is for these reasons that the Public Interest must favour neither confirming nor denying that the requested information is held.

    Section 31 Law Enforcement

    Factors favouring confirmation or denial for Sec 31

    By confirming or denying whether information is held would enable the public to have a better understanding of the type of tactics employed by Leicestershire Police in carrying out their law enforcement role.

    Better public awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the public as they would be more observant in reporting suspicious activity.

    Factors against confirmation or denial for S31

    By confirming or denying whether information is held would compromise law enforcement tactics and subsequently hinder the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

    This would result in further risks to the public and consequently require the use of more Leicestershire Police resources.

    Section 40(5) - Personal Information

    A Freedom of Information Act request is not a private transaction. Both the request itself, and any information disclosed, are considered suitable for open publication.   This is because under the Act any information disclosed is released into the wider public domain, effectively to the world not just to an individual.

    To confirm or deny whether personal information exists in response to your request could publicly reveal information about an individual or individuals, thereby breaching the right to privacy afforded to persons under the Data Protection Act  1998.

    Balancing Test

    Leicestershire Police relies heavily on the public providing information to assist in criminal investigations and has a duty to protect and defend vulnerable individuals. The public has an expectation that any information they provide will be treated with confidence.

    Anything which places that confidence at risk would undermine any trust or confidence individuals have in Leicestershire Police

    The effective delivery of operational law enforcement is of paramount importance to Leicestershire Police in their duty to ensure the prevention and detection of crime is carried out and the effective apprehension or prosecution of offenders is maintained.

    In addition any disclosure by Leicestershire Police that places the security of the country at risk would undermine any trust or confidence individuals have in us, therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that information is held.

    Please note this response does not confirm or deny that Leicestershire Police holds the information that you have requested.
    Leicestershire Police provides you the right to ask for a re-examination of your
    request under its review procedure. Letters should be addressed to Information Manager, Professional Standards Department at the above address. If you decide to request such a review and having followed the Force’s full process you are still dissatisfied, then you have the right to direct your comments to the Information Commissioner who will give it consideration.

    Yours sincerely

    Steven Morris
    Information Management
    Leicestershire Police
    [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
    +44 (0)0116 2485217
    Website: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    Leicestershire Police in complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information will not breach the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the enclosed information will continue to be protected by law. Applications for the copyright owner’s written permission to reproduce any part of the attached information should be addressed to The Information Manager, Leicestershire Police Headquarters, St. Johns, Enderby, Leicester LE19 2BX.

    [/size][/size] +44 (0)116 222 2222


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