Dear West Mercia Police,

I am writing for information on police contacts with the local Shanaz organisation. Shanaz was a project set up to facilitate contacts between local women and police.

Please search for and release emails between your police force and the following persons, between the dates Jan 2013 and Jan 2015:

Khatija Barday-Wood
Shiria Khatun
Nabeela Khan
Sofia Mahmood
Nilofer Mohamed

These persons were members of the Shanaz management committee.

Yours faithfully,

Sam Andrews

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Sir or Madam

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 
55639                                                      

 

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
on 29^th January 2021.  Your request will now be considered in accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

 

We will aim to provide a response to your request within 20 working days
as stipulated by the Act.  Please note that there may be unavoidable
delays when making information rights requests during the COVID-19
pandemic.  We are triaging and addressing requests in the following
order:  Subject access and then FOI requests.   Every effort will be made
to meet our statutory timescales for responding.  Thank you for your
understanding.

 

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information you request.  If this is the case you will be informed and
the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment
from you.  If you chose not to make payment then your request will be
withdrawn.

 

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way.  Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

 

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Sue Cale

Information Compliance Assistant | Information Compliance Unit  | West
Mercia Police

Hindlip Hall Police Headquarters, Hindlip Hall, Worcester, WR3 8SP
Direct Dial: Working from Home Ext. Working from Home

Team email: [1][email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Sir or Madam

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 55639

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
on 29^th January 2021. Please find below the response to your request:

 

I am writing for information on police contacts with the local Shanaz
organisation. Shanaz was a project set up to facilitate contacts between
local women and police.

 

Please search for and release emails between your police force and the
following persons, between the dates Jan 2013 and Jan 2015:

 

Khatija Barday-Wood

Shiria Khatun

Nabeela Khan

Sofia Mahmood

Nilofer Mohamed

 

These persons were members of the Shanaz management committee.

 

 

Reply:-

West Mercia Police can neither confirm nor deny that information is held
relevant to your request as the duty in s1(1)(a) of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 24(2) National Security
Section 30(3) Investigations
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
Section 40(5) Personal Information

Harm in complying with s1(1)(a) – to confirm or not whether information is
held

Any release under FOIA is a disclosure to the world, not just to the
individual making the request.  To confirm or not that information is held
pertinent to this request would reveal whether or not named individuals
have corresponded with West Mercia Police which could include any type of
correspondence, from reporting a crime on the street where they live,
about anti-social behaviour at their local park or indeed relating to
their role within the Shanaz Network which may cover information relating
to the Prevent Strategy.

[1]Prevent is one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism
strategy, known as Contest.  The aim of Prevent is to reduce the threat to
the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting
terrorism.

Police forces work in conjunction with other agencies and information is
freely shared in line with information sharing protocols.  Modern-day
policing is intelligence led and this is particularly pertinent with
regard to both law enforcement and national security.  The public expect
police forces to use all powers and tactics available to them to prevent
and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety. 

The prevention and detection of crime is the foundation upon which
policing is built and the threat from terrorism cannot be ignored.  It is
generally recognised that the international security landscape is
increasingly complex and unpredictable.  The current [2]UK threat level
from international terrorism, based on intelligence, is assessed as
substantial which means that a terrorist attack is likely.

In order to counter criminal and terrorist behaviour, it is vital that the
police have the ability to work together, where necessary covertly, to
obtain intelligence within current legislative frameworks to assist in the
investigative process to ensure the successful arrest and prosecution of
offenders who commit or plan to commit acts of terrorism.

To achieve this goal, it is vitally important that information sharing
takes place between police officers, members of the public, police forces
as well as other law enforcement bodies within the United Kingdom.  Such
as action would support counter‑terrorism measures in the fight to deprive
terrorist networks of their ability to commit crime.

The impact of providing information under FOI which aids in identifying
whether or not West Mercia Police has received or corresponded with named
individuals who may or may not have been connected to the Shanaz Network,
would provide those intent on committing criminal or terrorists acts with
valuable information as to where the police are targeting their
investigations.

In addition, to confirm or deny whether information is held in this case
has the potential to undermine the flow of information (intelligence)
received from members of the public into the Police Service relating to
the Prevent Strategy thereby undermining National Security and leaving the
United Kingdom at risk of more terrorist attack.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 24(2) National Security

Factors favouring complying with s(1)(1)(a) confirming that information is
held

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and resources
distributed within an area of policing, particularly with regard to how
the police investigate terrorist offending.  To confirm whether or not
information exists would enable the general public to hold West Mercia
Police to account in relation to how they gather intelligence relating to
the Prevent Strategy.

Furthermore, confirming or denying may improve public debate and assist
the community to take steps to protect themselves.

Factors against complying with s1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying
that information is held

Taking into account the current security climate within the United
Kingdom, no information which may aid a terrorist should be disclosed.  To
what extent this information may aid a terrorist is unknown, but it is
clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to monitor
terrorist activity.

The public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with
regard to their safety and protection.  The only way of reducing risk is
to be cautious with what is placed into the public domain.

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various
sources would build a picture of vulnerabilities within certain scenarios,
as in this case confirmation or denial whether or not individuals from an
organisation connected to the Prevent Strategy has or haven’t corresponded
with named police forces.  The more information disclosed over time may
provide a more detailed account of the tactical referral of individuals
suspected or being vulnerable to radicalisation.

Section 30(3) Investigations

Factors favouring complying with s1(1)(a) confirming information is held

Confirming or denying whether information exists relevant to this request
would lead to a better informed general public by identifying that West
Mercia Police are proactive in their dealings with members of the public,
in both a personal and professional scenario.  This fact alone may
encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist with
investigations and would also promote public trust in providing
transparency and demonstrating openness and accountability into areas the
police are currently focusing their investigations.

The public are also entitled to know how public funds are spent.

Factors against complying with s1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying
that information is held

Modern-day policing is intelligence led.  To confirm or not whether
private individuals who may or may not have connections with Prevent via
the [3]Shanaz Network could hinder the prevention and detection of crime.

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

 

Factors favouring complying with s1(1)(a) confirming information is held

 

Information relating to the Shanaz Network and its connection with Prevent
is published (see above hyperlink) and this in itself favours confirming
information is held.

 

Factors against complying with s1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying
that information is held

 

West Mercia Police has a duty of care to the community at large and public
safety is of paramount importance.  If an FOI disclosure revealed
information to the world (by citing an exemption or stating no information
held) that would assist an offender it could undermine the security of the
national infrastructure, by revealing our ‘intelligence’ thereby
highlighting vulnerabilities force by force.

 

By its very nature, by confirming or denying this information is held
would undermine the effective delivery of operational law enforcement. 
Under FOI there is a requirement to comply with s1(1)(a) and confirm what
information is held.  In some cases it is that confirmation, or not, which
could disclose facts harmful to members of the public, police officers,
other law enforcement agencies and their employees.

 

Balance Test

 

The points above highlight the merits of confirming, or denying, whether
information pertinent to this request exists.  The security of the country
is of paramount importance and the Police Service is charged with
enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the
communities we serve.  As part of that policing purpose, various
operations with other law enforcement bodies may or may not be ongoing. 
The Police Service will never divulge whether or not information is held
if to do so would place the safety of individual(s) at risk or undermine
National Security.

Whilst there is a public interest in appropriately and effectively
engaging with the threat from criminals, there is a very strong public
interest in safeguarding National Security.  As much as there is a public
interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in
matters of National Security, this will only be overridden in exceptional
circumstances.

 

The public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with
regard to their safety and protection and the only way of reducing risk is
to be cautious with any information that is released.  Confirming or
denying whether information is or isn’t held would definitely reveal
policing activity and would assist those intent on causing harm.  Any
incident that results from confirmation or denial would, by default,
affect National Security.

 

Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues
the balance test for confirming, nor denying, that information is held is
made out.

 

No inference can be taken from this refusal that information does or does
not exist.

 

 

Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

Your attention is drawn to the below which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or telephone the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely

 

Mrs S Biddle

Information Compliance Unit
West Mercia Police

PO Box 55

Hindlip

Worcester

WR3 8SP

01905 331545 / 331565

 

 

West Mercia 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 Force Solicitor, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, PO Box 55, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SP.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require West Mercia Police (WMP) to review their
decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the person that dealt with your request.

Ask to have the decision looked at again -

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
contact the person named at the end of your decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
WMP made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information, you can lodge a complaint with WMP to have the
decision reviewed. WMP must be notified of your intention to complain
within 20 working days of the date of its response to your Freedom of
Information request. Complaints should be made in writing and addressed
to:

West Mercia Police Headquarters

Information Compliance Unit

Hindlip Hall

Hindlip

PO Box 55

Worcester

WR3 8SP

or

Email:  [West Mercia Police request email]

In all possible circumstances, WMP will aim to respond to your complaint
within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with WMP if you are still dissatisfied with the
decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a
decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at https://ico.org.uk/ Alternatively phone or
write to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 if you prefer to use a
national rate number

Fax:    01625 524 510

 

 

 

This email and any attachments may contain information that is
confidential, privileged, sensitive, or otherwise protected from
disclosure. Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If received in error, please destroy all copies and notify the
sender immediately by return email. Internet email is not a secure medium
of communication. Any views or opinions expressed in this email do not
necessarily represent those of West Mercia Police. All email activity may
be may be monitored, recorded and retained by West Mercia Police in
accordance with relevant legislation.

 

Please be aware that all information provided to West Mercia Police will
be held and treated in confidence in accordance with the Data Protection
Act 2018. It may be shared with other Force departments. Personal
information may also be used for statistical purposes, for fraud and crime
prevention and may be checked with/disclosed to regulatory bodies. The
information provided may be held electronically and/or in paper form and
will be kept secure at all times. Your personal data will be processed for
the performance of tasks carried out in the public interest or in the
exercise of the Police’s official authority and to comply with legal
obligations. 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. https://www.mi5.gov.uk/threat-levels
3. https://shanaznetwork.weebly.com/