BNP membership list.

Mark Walker made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Hertfordshire Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please provide the following information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

In November 2008 the membership list of the British National Party (BNP) was published online. On September 1, 2009 a disgruntled former official Matt Single was convicted in relation to this for offences under the Data Protection Act.

I refer to Schedule 1 of The Data Protection Principles.

Under Schedule 1, any use of 'sensitive personal data' must be processed
only when at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and at
least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.

1. Please tell me if the Hertfordshire Constabulary has processed any data relating to the leaked British National Party membership list.

2. Please tell me which of the conditions in Schedule 2 and Schedule 3
were met when processing sensitive personal data?

3. Has sensitive personal data been used for any purposes other than
comparing against the Hertfordshire Constabulary Police personnel database?

4. Who was responsible for the decision to compare sensitive personnel
data against Hertfordshire Constabulary Police's personnel data?

5. What were the grounds for such a decision?

6. I request the minutes of any meeting held to come to such a decision.

7. Please describe the process used in making such a decision and
whether the consequences of this decision, if any, were assessed.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Walker

Solidarity Trade Union

Hertfordshire Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Attention Mr Walker,

Further to your recent FOI request, please find attached a confirmation
letter.

Emma Chandler

Information Services Office
Information Management Unit
Hertfordshire Constabulary
Tel: 01707 63 8433

Fax: 01707 35 4669

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Hertfordshire Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Attention Mr Walker,

Further to your recent FOI request, please find attached a response
letter.

Alice Duarte 7591
Information Services Office
Information Management Unit
Hertfordshire Constabulary
Tel: 01707 63 8436
Fax: 01707 35 4669

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Sir of Madam,

Thank you for your response of 27th October 2009. I would like to request an internal review of the decision not to disclose information.

As you will be aware there is a general right of access to information held by public authorities. In OGC v Information Commissioner [2008] EA/2006/0040, 5.3.07 (at para 71) the High Court approved the following statement:-

“[T]here is an assumption built into FOIA that the disclosure of information by public authorities on request is in itself of value and in the public interest, in order to promote transparency and accountability in relation to the activities of public authorities.”

You have claimed exemptions which are subject to a public interest test. This requires you to take into account the public interest in deciding whether to release information even when an exemption applies. In short, our understanding is that the public interest may override the exemption.

It is our belief that there is a presumption in favour of disclosure in the Act created by the reverse emphasis in section 2. We argue that where the balance is even, the public interest in a particular disclosure should prevail.

We wish the review to consider the following points:-

1. The public would assume that the Police forces had obtained and reviewed a copy of the leaked BNP list as there is a policy banning BNP members from serving in the force and the list was leaked onto the Internet (via Wikileaks). Several forces have publicly disciplined workers on the basis that they were on this list. At the time Spokespersons for Forces were happy to tell the Press that they were "scouring" the list for people to discipline. Several forces have also confirmed that they hold the list for this purpose and others in response to FOI requests. We argue that claiming exemptions on the grounds you do is therefore misconceived.

2. The only criminal charge we are aware of relates to Matt Single, the person convicted under Data Protection law for leaking it. No other criminal matter relating to the list has been brought before the courts. It is difficult to understand what kind of criminal investigations might be prejudiced by answering our request, therefore.

3. We argue that it would be possible for you to disclose information in response to our request that does not relate to the areas covered by the exemptions. A blanket refusal is not a proportionate response.

4. You have failed to fully consider the public interest in disclosure. Specifically we would like the Review to consider the public interest in:-

(a) Assisting public understanding of an issue that is subject to current national debate
(b) Enabling a proper debate of issues relating to Data Protection, Privacy, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression and misuse of Government powers to the detriment of individual rights. We argue that an informed debate cannot take place without wide availability of all the relevant information.
(c) Allowing individuals affected adversely in Employment information which they can refer to in order to challenge discrimination on political grounds.
(d) Allowing analysis and scrutiny of the effect and implications of a major policy decision with Human Rights implications
(e) Providing our Union sufficient information to allow us to make representations on this issue. See Case No A.31/00 relating to the enforcement of The Open Government Code of Practice on Access to Government Information enforced by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. This is particularly important to us as we have members who are or may be directly affected in their employment.
(f) Providing our Union with information which can be used to see the practical implications of a limitation on the right of Freedom of Association. This is important as further restrictions are being considered. In fact we recently gave evidence to the Smith review (concerning Education) on this point, amongst others.
(g) Providing information which makes individuals and institutions accountable for decisions.

Our Union argues that the substance of the information we have requested relates to a matter of serious and legitimate public concern and its disclosure will inform public debate. The public interest in disclosing the information outweighs any public interest in not disclosing it.

Yours sincerely

Mark Walker
Solidarity Trade Union
www.solidaritytradeunion.org

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bn...

Hertfordshire Constabulary

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Walker,

Following your email dated 7th December, please find attached an
acknowledgment letter and a copy of Hertfordshire Constabulary's Freedom
of Information review procedure.

<<Acknowledgment following request for review as of 15.12.09.pdf>>
<<Review Procedure (Including Appendix A as of 15.12.09).pdf>>

Thank you

Antonietta Moscatiello
Policy and Information Officer
Information Services Office
Information Management Unit
Hertfordshire Constabulary
Stanborough Road
Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire
AL8 6XF

Tel: 01707 63(8408)

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Hertfordshire Constabulary

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Walker,

Following your request for an internal review, please see the attached
response.

<<Final Response (Review)480 as of 13.01.10.pdf>>
Thank you

Antonietta Moscatiello
Policy and Information Officer
Information Services Office
Information Management Unit
Hertfordshire Constabulary
Stanborough Road
Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire
AL8 6XF

Tel: 01707 63(8408)

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir