Codenames

Steve Elibank 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).

Steve Elibank

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Please provide me with an electronic copy of all documentation, guidelines etc. laying down procedure for the way in which codenames such as WEETING and ELVEDON are selected.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Ellibank

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070001159
I write in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 06/07/2011. I note
you seek access to the following information:

Please provide me with an electronic copy of all documentation, guidelines
etc. laying down procedure for the way in which codenames such as WEETING
and ELVEDON are selected.

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 email
or contact me on telephone number 020 7230 2003 quoting the reference
number above.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Beaumont
SCD Information Manager
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 and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer 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
telephone the case officer that is nominated 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
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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Ellibank

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070001159

I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 06/07/2011. I note
you seek access to the following information:

Please provide me with an electronic copy of all documentation, guidelines
etc. laying down procedure for the way in which codenames such as WEETING
and ELVEDON are selected.

Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within the MPS
to locate information relevant to your request.

EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
within The Specialist Crime Directorate - Met Intelligence Bureau.

RESULT OF SEARCHES

The MPS holds no electronic guidelines relating to how operation names are
chosen.

Operation names are selected in the following way. A topic is chosen,
such as castles or fruit. A list of names is then compiled. Names that
have not previously been used are then held to allow for future
allocation.

Operation names that can be associated to individuals, corporations etc or
that are deemed as otherwise inappropriate are not used.

Weeting is a castle. Elevedon is a place name.

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 email
or contact me on telephone number 020 7230 2003 quoting the reference
number above.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Beaumont
SCD Information Manager
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 and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer 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
telephone the case officer that is nominated 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
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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

2011070001159

Thank you for your prompt response. In light of it, I would like to request an electronic copy of all codename lists of the sort you described (castles, fruit etc.) that have been produced in the last two years. Since I am not interested in what the codenames refer to, I imagine that there would not be any operational difficulties caused by this request. If, however, it suits your purposes to only release those names which have been allocated, or those which have not, then that would be acceptable.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Elibank

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070002264
I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 14/07/2011. I note you seek
access to the following information:

I would like to request an electronic copy of all codename lists of the
sort you described (castles, fruit etc.) that have been produced in the
last two years. Since I am not interested in what the codenames refer to,
I imagine that there would not be any operational difficulties caused by
this request. If, however, it suits your purposes to only release those
names which have been allocated, or those which have not, then that would
be acceptable.

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 email
or contact me on telephone number 020 7230 2003 quoting the reference
number above.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Beaumont
SCD Information Manager
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 and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer 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
telephone the case officer that is nominated 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
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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Elibank

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070002264

I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 14/07/2011. I note
you seek access to the following information:

I would like to request an electronic copy of all codename lists of the
sort you described (castles, fruit etc.) that have been produced in the
last two years. Since I am not interested in what the codenames refer to,
I imagine that there would not be any operational difficulties caused by
this request. If, however, it suits your purposes to only release those
names which have been allocated, or those which have not, then that would
be acceptable.
EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
within the Specialist Crime Directorate - Met Intelligence Bureau.

RESULT OF SEARCHES

The searches located information relevant to your request.

DECISION

Before I explain the reasons for the decisions I have made in relation to
your request, I thought that it would be helpful if I outline the
parameters set out by the Act within which a request for information can
be answered.

The Act creates a statutory right of access to information held by public
authorities. A public authority in receipt of a request must, if
permitted, confirm if the requested information is held by that public
authority and, if so, then communicate that information to the applicant.

The right of access to information is not without exception and is subject
to a number of exemptions which are designed to enable public authorities
to withhold information that is not suitable for release. Importantly, the
Act is designed to place information into the public domain, that is, once
access to information is granted to one person under the Act, it is then
considered public information and must be communicated to any individual
should a request be received.

I have considered your request for information within the provisions set
out by the Act . I have addressed your request in order to both confirm if
the requested information is held by the MPS and then to provide this
information to you. Where I have been unable to provide the requested
information to you, I have explained my decision in accordance with
Section 17 of the Act.

REASONS FOR DECISION

Having identified and considered the relevant information, I am afraid
that I am not required by statute to release the information requested.
This serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Act.
The information you have requested is exempt by virtue of Section 21(1)
and (3) and Section 31(1)(a)(b) and (c) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (the Act).

Under Section 21(1) and (3) of the Act, Public Authorities are able to
withhold information that is already available in the public domain, such
as on an authorities publication scheme.

Under Section 31(1) (a) (b) (c) of the Act Public Authorities are able to
withhold information where its release could compromise Law Enforcement.
Section 31 being a qualified exemption there is a statutory requirement
to carry out a PIT when considering any disclosure and this is detailed
below.

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

Section 21(1) and (3) Considerations

Many of the operation names generated by the MPS are already available in
the public domain, examples of which can be found at the links below:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/en...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7288...
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2...

Public Interest Test - Section 31(a)(b)(c) - Law Enforcement.
The public interest is not what interests the public but what will be of
greater good if released to the community as a whole. It is not in the
public interest to disclose information that may compromise the service's
ability to accomplish its core function of law enforcement.
Evidence of Harm - Section 31(a)(b)(c) - Law Enforcement
In considering whether or not this information should be disclosed I have
considered the potential harm that could be caused by disclosure. Under
the Act we cannot and do not request the motives of any applicant for
information. We have no doubt the vast majority of applications under
the Act are legitimate and do not have any ulterior motives, however in
disclosing information to one applicant we are expressing a willingness to
provide it to anyone in the world. This means that a disclosure to a
genuinely interested applicant automatically opens it up for a similar
disclosure to anyone, including those who might represent a threat to
individuals or any possible criminal and/or civil process. The MPS is
charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and
protecting the communities we service.

Operational names are used by law enforcement agencies as a basic security
measure to safeguard information relating to ongoing criminal
investigations. The use of an operational name enables law enforcement
personnel to communicate safely in relation to a particular enquiry
without the need to include explicit details of the investigation within
their communications. Some operational names are in the public domain such
as Operation Bumblebee. Many are not as it would defeat law enforcement
aims.

Owing to the inter-connected nature of criminals and criminal activities,
specific operations often overlap one another and references to ongoing
operations frequently feature within material of completed enquiries.
Under these circumstances, the use of operational names enables material
relating to a completed enquiry to be released in accordance with
disclosure obligations under the Criminal Procedures and Investigations
Act 1996 (CPIA) without prejudice to the ongoing enquiry to apprehend or
prosecute other offenders. Such instances may occur across operations
within a particular law enforcement agency, such as the MPS, but will also
occur across operations involving more than one police force or agency. In
such cases, it would be essential that the operational names revealed
could not be attributed to any particular law enforcement agency as this
may prejudice the enquiry and cause harm. Acknowledging that there is an
operation in some situations is likely to cause potential harm to under
cover officers or frustrate the investigation. Likewise, if an
investigation into a criminal organisation based almost entirely in
Scotland included reference to an operation name attributed to the MPS, it
would alert that criminal group to the existence of law enforcement
enquiries against their criminal interests in London.

In addition to authorised and lawful disclosure of information, such as
under CPIA, it is possible that instances of either unlawful or
inadvertent disclosure of operational names from material held by law
enforcement agencies within the UK and overseas, may occur from time to
time. Once again, in order to safeguard law enforcement activity to
apprehend or prosecute offenders or prevent or detect crime, it is
essential that disclosure of an operational name under these circumstances
should not reveal information relating to ongoing enquiries. For example,
if an inadvertent disclosure in an overseas jurisdiction referred to an
operational name attributed to the MPS it would alert any organisations
with criminal interests both in the country concerned and London to the
likelihood of an ongoing investigation by the MPS and cause them to
instigate measures to frustrate the enquiry.

If future operation names are published before they are allocated to an
operation this is likely to cause harm as they will be spoilt before use
and the names could have meanings attributed to them in the public domain
that bears no relation to the operation. In addition to this if such names
are in use before they have been allocated criminally minded person could
use them to give them bone fide status that could be used to gain
information again causing harm.

In summary, the use of operational names and the management of when and if
such operational names are publically revealed is a key operational
security measure and the disclosure of future operational names in the
public arena would be very likely to prejudice the prevention or detection
of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Such matters
could also be exempt under Public Interest Immunity where it would reveal
covert methodology.

Section 31(a)(b)(c) - Law Enforcement Public interest considerations
favouring disclosure
We are aware that better awareness may reduce crime or lead to more
information from the public. There is also a public interest in the
transparency of policing operations and how these names are generated.
Section 31(a)(b)(c) - Law Enforcement Public interest considerations
favouring non-disclosure
Release would have the effect of compromising law enforcement tactics and
would also hinder the prevention and detection of crime. In addition the
release of any information that could have generated a covert
investigation would prejudice that investigation. Disclosure could
technically be releasing sensitive operational information into the public
domain, which would enable those with the time, capacity and inclination
to try and map strategies used by the MPS and may alert them to an
investigation into them. Additionally MPS resources and its ability to
operate effectively and efficiently would directly be affected as this
information can be manipulated by those with criminal intent to operate in
those areas.
Balancing Test

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 relating to the list
of names generated for operational names.

A full explanation can be found in the Evidence of Harm above.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to make a complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me on 020 7230 2003 or at the address at the top of this letter,
quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Beaumont
SCD Information Manager

LEGAL ANNEX

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 21(1)(3) of the Act provides:

(1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the application
otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information***

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held
by a public authority and does not fall within subsection (2)(b) is not to
be regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the
information is available from the public authority itself on request,
unless the information is made available in accordance with the
authority***s publication scheme and any payment required is specified in,
or determined in accordance with, the scheme.

Section 31(a)(b)(c)of the Act provides:

Section 31(1) (a) (b) (c) of the Act provides: Law enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is
exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be
likely to, prejudice-
(a) the prevention or detection of crime,
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
(c) the administration of justice,

In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the
Metropolitan Police Service 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 MPS Directorate of Legal
Services, 1st Floor (Victoria Block), New Scotland Yard, Victoria, London,
SW1H 0BG.
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 and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer 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
telephone the case officer that is nominated 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
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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

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