Walthamstow Central immigration enforcement operation

M Bimmler made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Transport for London

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Transport for London.

Dear Transport for London,

on 13 October 2021, an immigration enforcement operation was carried out at Walthamstow Central underground station by police and/or Home Office immigration enforcement officers.

In a comment to media, a TfL spokesperson confirmed that this operation took place on TfL property, was not authorized by TfL and would not be repeated. The spokesperson further confirmed that there had been discussions with policing partners to ensure this did not happen again.

Please could you provide me with a copy of all information TfL holds on this incident at Walthamstow Central on 13 October 2021. This includes but is not limited to internal correspondence, memoranda and notes, as well as external correspondence or minutes of meeting.

Yours faithfully,

M Bimmler

FOI, Transport for London

Dear M Bimmler

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1914-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 24 November 2021 asking for
information about an immigration enforcement operation that was carried
out at Walthamstow Central London Underground station.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

 

A response will be sent to you by 22 December 2021. We publish a
substantial range of information on our website on subjects including
operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance
and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently
asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, Transport for London

2 Atodiad

Dear M Bimmler

 

Our Ref:         FOI-1914-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 24 November 2021 asking for
information about an immigration enforcement operation that was carried
out at Walthamstow Central London Underground station.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we do hold the information you require.

 

Please find the requested correspondence attached.

 

However, in accordance with the FOI Act, some of the information is
subject to a statutory exemptions to the right of access to information
under section 31(1)(a) Law Enforcement which relates to all aspects of the
prevention and detection of crime.

In this instance the exemption has been applied to some of the information
contained in the correspondence as it would give details regarding the
processes in place between us and the British Transport Police and
Metropolitan Police Service.

 

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public
interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We
recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities,
but in this instance feel that balance lies in favour of withholding the
information to ensure that we are able to continue to comply with our
Network Management Duty and the safety of the travelling public on our
network while making the best use of public funds.

 

Additionally, in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection
legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section
40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data
would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle of
Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation which requires all
processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to
disclose this personal information when the individuals have no
expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the
conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.

 

This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute
exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest
favours use of the exemption.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Jacob,

many thanks for your response and the disclosed documents.

I note that my original request asked for all information TfL holds, including external correspondence or minutes of meetings. Having scanned the documents, they all appear to be correspondence between TfL and GLA (office of the Deputy Mayor for Transport / Mayor's office).

The disclosed documents mention at several points that officers of TfL will follow / have followed up with the Metropolitan Police Service on this matter (see p. 18, email of TfL's Siwan Hayward of 14/10/21, 15.23).

There is also:
- reference to seeking an explanation from the MPS (see p. 15, email of TfL's Siwan Hayward of 19/10/21, 19.16),
- reference to following up with the relevant MPS Basic Command Unit (see p. 14, email of TfL's Mandy McGregor of 29/10/21, 17.48),
- reference to TfL officials meeting with the MPS (?) Head of Protective Security Operations (p. 10, email of GLA's Stef Lehmann of 16/11/21, 18.47).

I infer from these references that there is likely to have been, at the minimum, further correspondence between TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service on this issue; possibly also correspondence with the British Transport Police and/or the Home Office (Immigration Enforcement), and/or minutes and notes of meetings with any of these organizations. Such records would appear to be covered by my original request.

Your response does not mention that any such records have been withheld in their entirety, rather (as I understand it) you have applied s31 to redact some of the information in the emails already disclosed to me.

Could you kindly clarify the position for me? Are there records responsive to the request which are withheld in their entirety and if so, could I please have a schedule of these and further explanation of the rationale to withhold the records in their entirety? Or are their records of external correspondence / meetings with third parties as described above which have been overlooked so far?

Many thanks for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

M Bimmler

FOI, Transport for London

Dear M Bimmler

 

Our Ref:         FOI-2164-2122

 

Thank you for your request received on 22 December 2021 asking for further
information about the immigration enforcement operation that was carried
out at Walthamstow Central London Underground station.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

 

A response will be sent to you by 24 January 2022. We publish a
substantial range of information on our website on subjects including
operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance
and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently
asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[3][TfL request email]

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Jacob,

many thanks for your email. I don't mean to be difficult but I don't think it is correct to treat this as a fresh FOI request. I did not ask for further/different information not covered by my original request.

I merely asked for clarification whether (a) some records were being withheld in full or (b) some records responsive to my original request might have been overlooked in collating the response.

In other words, I attempted to obtain clarification from you in relation to my original request instead of immediately applying for an internal review on that issue. This should not trigger a new 20 working days deadline.
Could you provide the clarification I sought, please, rather than processing this as if I made a new request?

Yours sincerely,

M Bimmler

FOI, Transport for London

Dear M Bimmler

 

Our Ref:         IRV-057-2122

 

Thank you for your further correspondence. We are currently seeking
clarification on whether we do hold any further information that was
captured by your original request. However, due to the Christmas period we
are unfortunately unlikely to be able to provide this before the new year.
I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

 

I have closed the new request and we will be processing this as an
internal review and will disclose any further information as part of our
response. We will provide a response as soon as possible.

 

If you have any further queries please let us know.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Gemma Jacob

Senior FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

[1][TfL request email]

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Ms Jacob,

many thanks for the update and all the best for the Christmas break and New Year.

Yours sincerely,

M Bimmler

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Bimmler

 

I am contacting you regarding your request for an internal review
concerning the response provided to FOI-1914-2122. Following your email of
22 December 2021 a review has been carried out by an Independent Review
Panel (‘the Panel’) consisting of individuals who were not involved in the
handling of your original FOI request.

 

In your email of 22 December, you have queried the following - I note that
my original request asked for all information TfL holds, including
external correspondence or minutes of meetings. Having scanned the
documents, they all appear to be correspondence between TfL and GLA
(office of the Deputy Mayor for Transport / Mayor's office).

 

The disclosed documents mention at several points that officers of TfL
will follow / have followed up with the Metropolitan Police Service on
this matter (see p. 18, email of TfL's Siwan Hayward of 14/10/21, 15.23).

 

There is also:

- reference to seeking an explanation from the MPS (see p. 15, email of
TfL's Siwan Hayward of 19/10/21, 19.16),

- reference to following up with the relevant MPS Basic Command Unit (see
p. 14, email of TfL's Mandy McGregor of 29/10/21, 17.48),

- reference to TfL officials meeting with the MPS (?) Head of Protective
Security Operations (p. 10, email of GLA's Stef Lehmann of 16/11/21,
18.47).

 

I infer from these references that there is likely to have been, at the
minimum, further correspondence between TfL and the Metropolitan Police
Service on this issue; possibly also correspondence with the British
Transport Police and/or the Home Office (Immigration Enforcement), and/or
minutes and notes of meetings with any of these organizations. Such
records would appear to be covered by my original request.

 

Your response does not mention that any such records have been withheld in
their entirety, rather (as I understand it) you have applied s31 to redact
some of the information in the emails already disclosed to me.

 

Could you kindly clarify the position for me? Are there records responsive
to the request which are withheld in their entirety and if so, could I
please have a schedule of these and further explanation of the rationale
to withhold the records in their entirety? Or are their records of
external correspondence / meetings with third parties as described above
which have been overlooked so far?

 

In the course of this internal review the panel have taken the opportunity
to fully revisit all the case notes held in relation to FOI-1914-2122 and
agree that in the first instance your original FOI request was incorrectly
responded to. It is clear to the panel that the information you sought was
not held in an easily accessible manner. To provide all the correspondence
that you have already received to date required several individuals to
search through different email accounts to locate, identify and retrieve
the emails.  Alternatively if the FOI Case Management Team had carried out
a remote email search via our eDiscovery tool of staff email accounts
using keywords from your request, this in all likelihood would have
generated a ‘hit’ result of hundreds, if not thousands, of potentially
relevant emails that would have required manual review to ascertain
whether it was within the scope of your request. In hindsight both methods
of searching for the correspondence you asked for was time consuming for
staff and taxing on our resources and would have exceeded the appropriate
fees limit as outlined in s12 of the Freedom of Information Act. This
should have been identified in the first instance and a refusal notice
issued to you accordingly under s12 of the FOIA at the time of responding
to FOI-1914-2122.

 

To provide you with a little more context with regards to your request for
information, section 12 of FOIA allows a public authority to refuse to
deal with a request where it estimates that it would exceed the
appropriate limit to-

 

(a) either comply with the request in its entirety or;

(b) confirm or deny whether the requested information is held.

 

The estimate must be reasonable in the circumstances of the case and where
we claim that section 12 is engaged, we should, where reasonable, provide
advice and assistance to help the requestor to refine the request so that
it can be dealt with under the appropriate limit. The relevant Regulations
which define the appropriate limit for section 12 purposes are The Freedom
of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees)
Regulation.

 

Regulation 4(3) of the Fees Regulations states that a public authority can
only take into account the costs it reasonably expects to incur in
carrying out the following permitted activities in complying with the
request:

 

• determining whether the information is held;

• locating the information, or a document containing it;

• retrieving the information, or a document containing it; and

• extracting the information from a document containing it.

 

Additionally in such circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more
requests for information are made to a public authority within a
consecutive 60 working day period-

 

(a) by one person, or

(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,

 

the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them. We do not have
to make a precise calculation of the costs of complying with a request(s);
instead only an estimate is required. However, it must be a reasonable
estimate.

 

We do not have to make a precise calculation of the costs of complying
with a request; instead only an estimate is required. However, it must be
a reasonable estimate.

 

A realistic estimate is one based on the time it would take to obtain the
requested information from the relevant records or files as they existed
at the time of the request, or up to the date for statutory compliance
with the request. We are not obliged to search for, or compile some of the
requested information before refusing a request that we estimate will
exceed the appropriate limit. Instead, we can rely on having cogent
arguments and/or evidence in support of the reasonableness of its
estimate. However, it is likely that we will sometimes carry out some
initial searches before deciding to claim section 12. This is because it
may only become apparent that section 12 is engaged once some work in
attempting to comply with the request has been undertaken. If we do start
to carry out some searches without an initial estimate, we can stop
searching as soon as we realise that it would exceed the appropriate limit
to fully comply with a request and we are not obliged to search up to the
appropriate limit.

 

With regards to your subsequent query concerning additional information to
be disclosed, we conducted a further example search of Mandy McGregor’s
email account for all emails sent between 9/10/21 and 25/11/21 that
contained any of the following keywords: "Walthamstow Central" OR
"immigration" OR "Home office" OR "Border Force" to identify how much
staff time would be required to source this correspondence - in addition
to the time that has already been spent on responding to FOI-1914-2122.
Our eDiscovery search produced 500 ‘hit’ results.

 

Even if we worked on the presumption that this search managed to capture
everything else held that may be relevant to your request, we would need
to manually review every single email and email chain to identify what
information may fall within the scope of your request.  Clearly this would
be a time consuming task, and this would be in addition to the time and
resource already spent in locating and reviewing correspondence in
response to your FOI request of 24 November 2021.

 

The panel have concluded that the FOI Case Management Team have already
provided information above and beyond what is required under the Act in an
attempt to be as open and transparent as possible in response to
FOI-1914-2122, but in retrospect your request should have initially been
refused in its entirety allowing you the opportunity to refine it.
Therefore the panel agree that s12 of the FOI is engage due to the staff
time and resource required to search for the additional correspondence
that you seek. We apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused in
this matter.

 

Further guidance on s12 of the FOIA can be found on the Information
Commissioners Office website -
[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-rganisation...

 

I hope the above response is of assistance, however if you are
dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date you can contact me
at [2][TfL request email] or you can refer the matter to the independent
authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act, at the
following address:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website
([3]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

FOI Case Management Team

Transport for London

[4][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

 

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