#childabuseoperation Operation Circus

Shona Scott made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

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

The request was refused by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Please could you answer the following questions under the FOI regulations.

Operation Circus in the 1980s into homosexual involvement in child abuse at Piccadilly Circus

1 What was the purpose, remit and terms of reference of the
operation
2 What dates it ran
3 What results it achieved in terms of number of arrests, number charged, number of convictions and for what offences for each if the information is held
4 Who the Police officer was in charge and how many officers were on the operation
5 Why the operation was instigated
6 Where the operation was run from and what area did it cover
7 Why was the name chosen and whether it had always had that name or whether there were connected operations
8 Where this information is now kept, and in what form -physical or electronic

Yours faithfully,

Shona Scott

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Ms Scott

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013100001835
I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 16/10/2013.  I note
you seek access to the following information:

Operation Circus in the 1980s into homosexual involvement in child abuse
at Piccadilly Circus

 1. What was the purpose, remit and terms of reference of the operation
 2. What dates it ran
 3. What results it achieved in terms of number of arrests, number
charged, number of convictions and for what offences for each if the
information is held
 4. Who the Police officer was in charge and how many officers were on the
operation
 5. Why the operation was instigated
 6. Where the operation was run from and what area did it cover
 7. Why was the name chosen and whether it had always had that name or
whether there were connected operations
 8. Where this information is now kept, and in what form -physical or
electronic.

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to
the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party.  In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve this
deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

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.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

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

Yours sincerely

Catherine Carrington
SC&O Information Manager
Freedom of Information Compliance
Specialist Crime & Operations (SC&O)
Metropolitan Police Service
020 7230 9962
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 the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS 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 www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Ms Scott

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013100001835

I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 16/10/2013.  I note
you seek access to the following information:

Operation Circus in the 1980s into homosexual involvement in child abuse
at Piccadilly Circus

 1. What was the purpose, remit and terms of reference of the operation
 2. What dates it ran
 3. What results it achieved in terms of number of arrests, number
charged, number of convictions and for what offences for each if the
information is held
 4. Who the Police officer was in charge and how many officers were on the
operation
 5. Why the operation was instigated
 6. Where the operation was run from and what area did it cover
 7. Why was the name chosen and whether it had always had that name or
whether there were connected operations
 8. Where this information is now kept, and in what form -physical or
electronic..

DECISION
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) this
response represents a Refusal Notice for this particular request under
Section 17(1) of the Act.
Please see the Legal Annex for the sections of the Act that are referred
to in this response.

The MPS can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any information by
virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing
with security matters
Section 30(3) Investigations and Proceedings conducted by Public
Authorities
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
Section 40(5) Personal Information

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

It should not be surmised that should the information be held by the MPS
we would be applying Sections 23, 30, 31 and 40 to the same pieces of
information.

Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Act that are referred
to in this email.

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.
Sections 23 and 40 are both absolute and class based.  Class-based
exemptions are those in which it is assumed the disclosure of information
would result in harm. There is therefore no requirement to demonstrate
what that harm may be.

Sections 30 and 31 are qualified exemptions
The MPS must consider the public interest in neither confirming nor
denying that any information is held.
Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is
held would contravene the conditions laid out within Section 23 of the Act
in that this stipulates a generic bar on disclosure of any information
supplied by, or concerning, certain Security bodies.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for Sec 30  
Confirming or denying that information exists relevant to this request
would lead to a better informed public that the MPS robustly investigate
offences of child abuse which may encourage individuals to provide
intelligence in order to assist investigations and reduce crime.  
Confirmation or denial would highlight where MPS resources are being
targeted and the public are entitled to know how public funds are spent,
particularly in the current economic climate.  
Factors against confirmation or denial for Sec 30
Confirmation or denial that information is held would suggest that the MPS
takes lightly their responsibility to appropriately handle and manage
information provided by individuals which assist with criminal
investigations, resulting in the MPS's future law enforcement capabilities
being affected.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for Sec 31  
There is a vast amount of information within the public domain relating to
instances of child abuse, which have and are still coming to light.
However, irrespective of what information is or is not held, confirmation
that information exists relevant to child abuse offences within a force
area would lead to a better informed public which may encourage
individuals to provide intelligence relating to offences, which could
assist the investigative process.
Factors against confirmation or denial for S31
Confirmation or denial that information is held would suggest that the MPS
take their responsibility to protect the safety of individuals seriously.
 
It could also adversely affect public safety if offenders are provided
with specific details which enable abusers to identify the type of
resources allocated to investigations/cases of this nature, thereby
allowing them to determine further tactical information which could be
extracted from the information disclosed.
The MPS relies on information supplied by the public.  
Confirming or denying that information is held would act as a deterrent to
the public to provide information (intelligence) to the MPS which would
undermine public safety.
Section 40(5) - Personal Information / Absolute Exemption
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 Freedom of Information 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.
When confirming or denying that information is held would breach an
individual's rights under the Data Protection Act, Section 40(5) of the
Act becomes an absolute exemption and there is no requirement for me to
provide evidence of the prejudice that would occur or to conduct a public
interest test.
Balance Test
Confirming or denying that certain material was or was not held in this
case would harm the ongoing investigation, therefore it cannot be in the
public interest to do so.
After weighing up the competing interests I have determined that the
disclosure of the above information would not be in the public interest.  
I consider that the benefit that would result from the information being
disclosed does not outweigh disclosing information.
However, this should not be taken as necessarily indicating that any
information that would meet your request exists or does not exist.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

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

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

Yours sincerely

Catherine Carrington
SC&O Information Manager
Freedom of Information Compliance
Specialist Crime & Operations (SC&O)
Metropolitan Police Service
020 7230 9962

Legal Annex

1 General right of access to information held by public authorities.
(1)Any person making a request for information to a public authority is
entitled-
(a)to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request, and
(b)if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.
Section 17(1) of the Act provides:
(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision in part II relating
to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim
that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying
with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-
(a) states the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.
Section 23(5) of the Act provides:
Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security
matters
The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any
information (whether or not already recorded) which was directly or
indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the
bodies specified in subsection (3).

Section 30(3) of the Act provides:
Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.
(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).
Section 31(3) of the Act provides:
Law Enforcement
(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice
any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
Section 40(5) of the Act provides:
Personal Information.
(5)The duty to confirm or deny-
(a) does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held
by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of
subsection (1), and
(b) does not arise in relation to other information if or to the extent
that either-
(i) the giving to a member of the public of the confirmation or denial
that would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart
from this Act) contravene any of the data protection principles or section
10 of the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998 or would do so if the
exemptions in section 33A(1) of that Act were disregarded, or
(ii) by virtue of any provision of Part IV of the [1998 c. 29.] Data
Protection Act 1998 the information is exempt from section 7(1)(a) of that
Act (data subject's right to be informed whether personal data being
processed)
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 the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS 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 www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk