CTIRU statistical records, impact assessments and evaluations

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

Open Rights Group

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact assessments and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referrals Unit in relation to their operations.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2017060000706

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 18/06/2017.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

"Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact assessments
and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism Internet
Referrals Unit in relation to their operations."

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.  

If you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please contact
us at [email address] or on the phone at 0207 161 3500, quoting the
reference number above. Should your enquiry relate to the logging or
allocations process we will be able to assist you directly and where your
enquiry relates to other matters (such as the status of the request) we
will be able to pass on a message and/or advise you of the relevant
contact details.

Yours sincerely

R. Loizou
Support Officer - Freedom of Information Triage Team
 
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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113

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 Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2017060000706

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 18/06/2017.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

* Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact
assessments and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism
Internet Referrals Unit in relation to their operations.

I am sorry to inform you that we have not been able to complete our
response to your request by the date originally stated.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), we have 20 working
days to respond to a request for information unless we are considering
whether the information requested is covered by one of the 'qualified
exemptions' (exemptions which must be tested against the public interest
before deciding whether they apply to the information in question).

Where we are considering the public interest test against the application
of relevant qualified exemptions, Section 17(2)(b) provides that we can
extend the 20 day deadline.  Please see the legal annex for further
information on this section of the Act.

For your information we are considering the following exemption:

Section 31 - Law Enforcement

I can now advise you that the amended date for a response is 10/08/2017.

May I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me via email at [email address], quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

C. Gayle-Petrou
Information Manager

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 17(2) provides:

(2) Where-

a) in relation to any request for information, a public authority is, as
respects any information, relying on a claim-
i) that any provision of Part II which relates to the duty to confirm or
deny and is not specified in section 2(3) is relevant to the request, or
ii) that the information is exempt information only by virtue of a
provision not specified in section 2(3), and
b) at the time when the notice under subsection (1) is given to the
applicant, the public authority (or, in a case falling within section
66(3) or (4), the responsible authority) has not yet reached a decision as
to the application of subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) of section 2,
the notice under subsection (1) must indicate that no decision as to the
application of that provision has yet been reached and must contain an
estimate of the date by which the authority expects that such a decision
will have been reached.

 
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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113

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 Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2017060000706

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 18/06/2017.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

* Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact
assessments and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism
Internet Referrals Unit in relation to their operations.

Please accept my apologies for not contacting you sooner.  After making
enquiries with the CTIRU, we are unable to proceed with your request as we
require further information from you.  

I would be grateful if you could clarify what type of statistical records
and evaluations you are referring to and any timeframe which might be
applicable.  Please note that the CTIRU publish data in relation to the
work that they undertake and it is unclear what further statistical
information you are seeking.

After receiving your reply, your request will then be considered and you
will receive a response within the statutory timescale.

However, if the requested additional information has not been received by
30/08/2017,  I will assume you no longer wish to proceed with this request
and will treat it as withdrawn.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me via email at [email address], quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

C. Gayle-Petrou
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 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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113

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

Open Rights Group

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

You ask:

“I would be grateful if you could clarify what type of statistical records
and evaluations you are referring to and any timeframe which might be
applicable. Please note that the CTIRU publish data in relation to the
work that they undertake and it is unclear what further statistical
information you are seeking.”

I would like to know about statistical records and evaluations which are used for management purposes, to ascertain what volume of work you do, its accuracy and efficacy. For instance, you might keep records of items such as:

* the numbers of accounts you close down per platform
* the volumes of material per platform
* the speed of responses at platforms
* the numbers of rejections of requests by platforms
* the amount of duplicate material that you encounter
* the kinds of material you encounter, either by type, eg video, text, blog; or by content, eg violent, jihadi, ISIS, Al Qaida, and so on.

I would imagine these kinds of statistics would mostly be routinely collected, or else on an ad hoc basis, in order to inform yourselves about the impact of your programme of work. However, it is of course very hard for me to know precisely what kinds of assessment you make, which is why a list of them seems the best approach for a request. I also imagine that although the existence of such records would not be a security concern (eg, how many requests per platform) you may argue against the release of the statistics in some cases, which is why I am not asking for the statistics themselves.

In terms of time frame, I am interested in current policy. I would be most interested in a list of those statistical records you are currently keeping, maintaining or that it is your current internal policy to collect or produce.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2017060000706

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 18/06/2017.  

You were recently advised that the deadline for responding to your request
had been extended until 10/08/2017, as we were considering whether the
information being requested is covered by one of the 'qualified
exemptions'.  Unfortunately, I now writing to advise that I am unable to
meet tomorrow's deadline, as I was awaiting a response from the CTIRU
following clarification of the information you were seeking.

Therefore, I am revising the deadline to on or before 24/08/2017.

Please accept my apologies for any incovenience that this delay may cause.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

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

Yours sincerely

C. Gayle-Petrou
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 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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, phone or
write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 745
 

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 Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2017060000706

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 18/06/2017.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact assessments
and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism Internet
Referrals Unit in relation to their operations.

Clarified on 03/08/2017:

I would like to know about statistical records and evaluations which are
used for management purposes, to ascertain what volume of work you do, its
accuracy and efficacy. For instance, you might keep records of items such
as:
 
* the numbers of accounts you close down per platform
* the volumes of material per platform
* the speed of responses at platforms
* the numbers of rejections of requests by platforms
* the amount of duplicate material that you encounter
* the kinds of material you encounter, either by type, eg video, text,
blog; or by content, eg violent, jihadi, ISIS, Al Qaida, and so on.
 
I would imagine these kinds of statistics would mostly be routinely
collected, or else on an ad hoc basis, in order to inform yourselves about
the impact of your programme of work. However, it is of course very hard
for me to know precisely what kinds of assessment you make, which is why a
list of them seems the best approach for a request. I also imagine that
although the existence of such records would not be a security concern
(eg, how many requests per platform) you may argue against the release of
the statistics in some cases, which is why I am not asking for the
statistics themselves.
 
In terms of time frame, I am interested in current policy. I would be most
interested in a list of those statistical records you are currently
keeping, maintaining or that it is your current internal policy to collect
or produce.
 

SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
at the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU).  The searches
located some information relevant to your request.

With regards to impact assessments, the CTIRU do not routinely hold
records solely for this purpose.

DECISION

In relation to your request for statistical records and evaluations,
having located and considered the relevant information, I am afraid that I
am not required by statute to release the information requested. This
response serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  Please see the legal annex for further
information on the exemptions applied in respect of your request.

REASONS FOR DECISION

To provide a list of any statistical records and evaluations created and
kept by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit in relation to their
operations would highlight areas of interest to the unit and identify who
they have liaised with e.g. companies or organisations. Therefore, to
release information relevant to these questions would compromise law
enforcement by undermining the operational effectiveness of the CTIRU and
have a negative effect on national security, therefore Sections S24(1) and
31(1)(a) of the Act are engaged.

   
In addition, the Metropolitan Police Service can neither confirm nor deny
whether it holds any further information relevant to this request as the
duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act)
does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:

Section 23(5) - Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security
bodies

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me via email at [email address], quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

C. Gayle-Petrou
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 24 - National Security

(1) Information which does not fall within section 23(1) is exempt
information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose
of safeguarding national security.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Section 31 - 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,

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Sections 24 and 31 are prejudice based qualified exemptions and there is a
requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in disclosing the
requested information as well as carrying out a public interest test.  

Overall Evidence of Harm

The CTIRU was the first unit in the world set up to tackle the
proliferation of illegal terrorist and violent extremist content on the
internet.

It works with service providers to instigate the removal of access to
terrorist and extremist material which breaks their terms of service. Once
such material has been identified, the CTIRU sends the internet service
provider an advisory note, seeking the removal of the material.
Publication of such material can also lead to those who publish it being
investigated for offences under the Terrorist Act 2006.

Whilst some information relating to the CTIRU is in the public domain, it
should be noted that 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 the Act,
any information, if held, is released into the wider public domain,
effectively to the world, not just to an individual.  Therefore, to
disclose any statistical records or evaluations compiled would be
revealing sensitive operational information.  Disclosure would cause harm
by undermining the work of the CTIRU and therefore compromise our law
enforcement function.

By providing the requested information would be in effect disclosing
details of the companies who the CTIRU have made enquiries with.
 Disclosure would therefore be revealing which websites’ have and maybe
likely to contain terrorist or extremist material.  Information of this
nature would detail intelligence and the level of policing capability. It
could infer where the police focus was (e.g. which types of websites the
CTIRU were concentrating their efforts) and also identify areas in which
the CTIRU had not focussed on, which could give a misleading picture on
the focus of police activity.

As stated by providing any information which can lead to the
identification of a company could be used to assist a user to discover
terrorist or extremist content.  Any disclosure which provides potential
terrorists/extremists with access to material which encourages/glorifies
acts of terrorism or which otherwise incites or assists others to
participate in such acts would compromise the MPS’s ability to accomplish
its core function of law enforcement.

Disclosure of any information which assists in this identification could
allow terrorists to build a picture of the perceived companies of interest
to the CTIRU.  They could then create a company which does not fit this
criteria to avoid detection and publish their material.  Such an
occurrence would undermine the CTIRU’s ability to detect such websites
which pose a risk to society.  Disclosure would negate the CTIRU’s purpose
of tackling online radicalisation and extremist material to protect the
public and prevent offences that incite or encourage acts of terrorism.  

The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored.  It should be recognised that
the international security landscape is increasingly complex and
unpredictable.  The UK faces a sustained threat from violent terrorists
and extremists.  Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat
level, as set by the security service (MI5) based upon current
intelligence and that threat has recently been reduced from the highest
threat ‘critical’ to ‘severe’ following recent events in Manchester.
 Prior to this it remained at the second highest level, ‘severe’, except
for two short periods during August 2006 and June and July 2007, when it
was raised to ‘critical’, and in July 2009, when it was reduced to
‘substantial’. With the current threat level to the UK given as ‘severe,
the Home Office website explains that ‘this means that a terrorist attack
is highly likely’.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-ter...

In consideration of the ramifications of this threat level, it would not
be wise to disclose any information which would enable those with a
criminal intent to gain an operational advantage of over the MPS,
hindering our ability to detect and prevent crime and affect the safety of
the public at a national level.

In the process of tackling extremist content online, the CTIRU will at
times be required to liaise with other policing agencies to share
information.  Any disclosure of the requested information which impacts
upon that partnership approach, would therefore undermine the law
enforcement process.

Public Interest Test
Factors favouring disclosure for S24 - The public are entitled to know how
public funds are spent and by disclosing this information the public would
be able to see where public money is being spent and know that the
MPS/NCTPFC is robustly tackling all aspects in relation to terrorist
activity specifically in relation to that which is online.

Factors favouring non-disclosure for S24 - By disclosing this information
would render security measures less effective. This would lead to the
compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or
infra-structure of the UK. The risk of harm to the public would be
increased if unlawful material were highlighted for individuals to access
and perpetrate crimes or provide an opportunity for terrorist planning.
 To counter this, a full review of security measures would be needed and
additional costs would be incurred.

Factors favouring disclosure for S31 - By disclosing a list of statistical
records or evaluations created by the CTIRU would allow the public to have
a greater understanding of their work.  By providing information which
could identify companies who the CTIRU have liaised with would make
members of the public more aware of the threat of terrorism and allow them
to take steps to protect themselves and families.  Improved public
awareness may lead to more intelligence being submitted to police about
online terrorist sites, as members of the public will be more observant to
extremist activity which in turn may result in a reduction of crime. The
MPS regularly publish statistical data on terrorism online referrals and
removals.

Factors favouring non-disclosure for S31 - Disclosure of the requested
information would compromise law enforcement which would hinder the
prevention and detection of terrorist and extremist crimes.  It is given
that the threat of terrorism will increase as more crimes are committed as
a result of terrorists gaining access to subversive material which incites
or assists others to participate in these acts, therefore placing the
general public at a greater risk and a fear of crime will be realised.  

By revealing the requested information could lead to knowledge of how the
CTIRU operates resulting in any investigations being compromised, which
would also ultimately impact upon police resources.  A release of
information which alerts a potential terrorist that the MPS is aware of
their activities and therefore disrupts an investigation, will lead to the
need to more police resources to reassure and protect the public.

Disclosure could hinder the partnership approach to law enforcement.

Balance Test

The CTIRU have previous published data relating to the work that they
undertake. In December 2016 the CTIRU issued a press brief and data
regarding referrals and removal of online content.  A link to this is
provided below.

https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/metpoliceu...

In addition, on 20th July 2017, during her speech at Mansion House, the
Commissioner stated:

“Since 2010, 270,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material have been
removed by social media providers, following referrals from the
Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.“

In relation to the information that you have specifically requested, the
security of the country is of paramount importance and the MPS will not
divulge any information which would undermine National Security or
compromise law enforcement or place individuals at risk. Whilst there is a
public interest in the transparency of policing, and in this case
providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and
effectively engaging with the threat posed by terrorist activity, there is
a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and
the integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly
sensitive subject of terrorism and extremism.

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.  Any disclosure of information
held by and in relation to the CTIRU that would highlight the MPS’s
capabilities for combating online terrorism and extremism are sensitive
issues of intelligence value to a terrorist.  Therefore, it is our opinion
that for these issues the balancing test favours non-disclosure of the
requested information.

In addition, the Metropolitan Police Service can neither confirm nor deny
whether it holds any further information relevant to this request as the
duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act)
does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:

Section 23 - Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security
bodies

(5) 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).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

This exemption is absolute and class based, and therefore not subject to
the public interest test.

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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113

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

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)'s handling of my FOI request 'CTIRU statistical records, impact assessments and evaluations'.

While I accept that some statistics may be exempt from disclosure, this request has been responded in such a way as to suggest the MPS / CTIRU holds no records of which the mere existence of which can be disclosed. I find this unlikely.

I would point out that statistics would not normally reveal very much about individual crime but would

I would also suggest that extremist content take downs are a very different matter to dealing with terrorists per se. There is a relationship, but this would not affect the commissioning of crime as such.

However, the removal of material and activities of the police in regard to what are ultimately free expression issues is a matter of great public interest. The lack of direct judicial oversight of the decisions being taken make it all the more important for material to be made public where possible.

Therefore, a combination of redaction of certain names of statistics, eg "Takedowns from XXXX platform", where it is sensitive, or "Takedowns from Facebook platform", or "Takedowns refused from Facebook platform" where it is plain that the relationship between CTIRU and Facebook will exist, would help aid the public understand both the nature of the work, and the kind of evaluation that is being kept. Indeed, it would be impossible to imagine these statistics named above would not be kept, thus it is hard to see how crime or security could possibly be damaged by confirming that they exist.

Een when this information cannot be made public, it would help for Parliamentarians, for instance, to be able to inquire more about what is being done.

Being able to see a list of statistics held (even in part, or with redactions) would also enable the public and Parliament to better judge what kinds of reporting might aid transparency and accountability.

However, without any of this information it is extremely hard to judge how to advance transparency and accountability.

Therefore I believe there is a public interest in disclosure, at least in part, of a list of statistics, and that it is extremely unlikely that every statistic produced cannot be named for reasons of security and crime prevention.

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

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock
Open Rights Group

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Killock,

Freedom of Information Review Reference No: 2017090000762

I write in connection with your request for a review of the decision
relating to 2017060000706 which was received by the Metropolitan Police
Service (MPS) on 21/09/2017.  

A review will now be conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice
issued under Section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).
The reviewing officer will reconsider the original request before
responding to you with their findings.

There is no statutory time limit in relation to the completion of an
Internal Review.  However, the MPS aim to complete Internal Reviews within
20 working days or in exceptional cases, within 40 working days.  This is
based upon guidance published by the Information Commissioner.

If it is not possible to complete the Internal Review within this
timescale you will be informed at the earliest opportunity.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of an Internal Review you may wish to
refer the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

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

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113

Yours sincerely,

K. Sultana
FOI Triage Team

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

Sent a follow up to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) again, using a new contact address.

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Killock

Freedom of Information Review Reference No: 2017090000762

I am sorry you are disappointed with the outcome of your request for
information.

Further to our earlier correspondence dated 22/09/2017, I am now able to
provide a response to your complaint concerning Freedom of Information Act
(the Act) request reference number: 2017060000706.

Background to your request:

On 18/06/2017, you submitted the following request for information:

Can you please send me a list of statistical records, impact assessments
and evaluations created and kept by the Counter Terrorism Internet
Referrals Unit in relation to their operations?

On 02/08/2017, we asked you to clarify your request. We wrote the
following:

I would be grateful if you could clarify what type of statistical records
and evaluations you are referring to and any timeframe which might be
applicable.  Please note that the CTIRU publish data in relation to the
work that they undertake and it is unclear what further statistical
information you are seeking.

On 03/08/2017, you provided the following:

I would like to know about statistical records and evaluations which are
used for management purposes, to ascertain what volume of work you do, its
accuracy and efficacy. For instance, you might keep records of items such
as:
 
the numbers of accounts you close down per platform
the volumes of material per platform
the speed of responses at platforms
the numbers of rejections of requests by platforms
the amount of duplicate material that you encounter
the kinds of material you encounter, either by type, eg video, text, blog;
or by content, eg violent, jihadi, ISIS, Al Qaida, and so on.
 
I would imagine these kinds of statistics would mostly be routinely
collected, or else on an ad hoc basis, in order to inform yourselves about
the impact of your programme of work. However, it is of course very hard
for me to know precisely what kinds of assessment you make, which is why a
list of them seems the best approach for a request. I also imagine that
although the existence of such records would not be a security concern
(eg, how many requests per platform) you may argue against the release of
the statistics in some cases, which is why I am not asking for the
statistics themselves.
 
In terms of time frame, I am interested in current policy. I would be most
interested in a list of those statistical records you are currently
keeping, maintaining or that it is your current internal policy to collect
or produce.

On 24/08/2017 your request for information was refused by virtue of the
following exemptions under the Act:

Section 24(1) - National Security
Section 31(1)(a) - Law Enforcement

In addition, the MPS neither confirmed nor denied whether any other
information was held relevant to your request by virtue of:
Section 23(5) - Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security
bodies.

On 21/09/2017, you complained as follows:

While I accept that some statistics may be exempt from disclosure, this
request has been responded in such a way as to suggest the MPS / CTIRU
holds no records of which the mere existence of which can be disclosed. I
find this unlikely.

I would point out that statistics would not normally reveal very much
about individual crime but would

I would also suggest that extremist content take downs are a very
different matter to dealing with terrorists per se. There is a
relationship, but this would not affect the commissioning of crime as
such.

However, the removal of material and activities of the police in regard to
what are ultimately free expression issues is a matter of great public
interest. The lack of direct judicial oversight of the decisions being
taken make it all the more important for material to be made public where
possible.

Therefore, a combination of redaction of certain names of statistics, eg
"Takedowns from XXXX platform", where it is sensitive, or "Takedowns from
Facebook platform",  or  "Takedowns refused from Facebook platform" where
it is plain that the relationship between CTIRU and Facebook will exist,
would help aid the public understand both the nature of the work, and the
kind of evaluation that is being kept. Indeed, it would be impossible to
imagine these statistics named above would not be kept, thus it is hard to
see how crime or security could possibly be damaged by confirming that
they exist.

Even when this information cannot be made public, it would help for
Parliamentarians, for instance, to be able to inquire more about what is
being done.

Being able to see a list of statistics held (even in part, or with
redactions) would also enable the public and Parliament to better judge
what kinds of reporting might aid transparency and accountability.

However, without any of this information it is extremely hard to judge how
to advance transparency and accountability.

Therefore I believe there is a public interest in disclosure, at least in
part, of a list of statistics, and that it is extremely unlikely that
every statistic produced cannot be named for reasons of security and crime
prevention

DECISION

The MPS has completed its review and has decided to uphold its original
decision.

Reasons for reliance on Section 31 of the Act - Law Enforcement

As part of the review, I have assessed whether Section 31 exemption has
been applied appropriately. In order for the exemption provided under
Section 31(1) to be engaged in this case, the MPS must show that
disclosure under the Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice law
enforcement functions, namely Section 31(1)(a) the prevention and
detection of crime.  

The ICO guidance points to the fact that Section 31 exemption is a
two-stage test.  Firstly, can a public authority establish that disclosure
of the information would prejudice, or would be likely to prejudice, any
of the areas of law enforcement listed in section 31 (i.e. prevention or
detection of crime). Secondly, if so, is the public interest in favour of
maintaining the exemption and therefore withholding the information.

The ICO advises 'although there must be a casual link, the prejudice test
relates to something that may happen in the future, if the information
were disclosed.  Therefore it is not usually possible to provide concrete
proof that the prejudice would or would be likely to result.
 Nevertheless…there must be more than a mere assertion or belief that
disclosure would lead to prejudice. There must be a logical connection
between the disclosure and the prejudice in order to engage the
exemption.' The review is further guided by the ICO who states 'in
considering the application of the exemption, a public authority should
concentrate on the effect of disclosure in order to assess whether there
is any likely prejudice to any law enforcement activities listed in the
exemption. There is no need to consider why the information is held'.

The review also has regard for the same guidance in the general areas of
law enforcement which states under the heading apprehending or prosecution
of offenders 'it could cover activities both in relation to specific
instances of the apprehension and prosecution of offenders and to the
general strategies, processes and policies established for these
purposes…'

The review takes regard to your comments:

I would point out that statistics would not normally reveal very much
about individual crime

I would also suggest that extremist content take downs are a very
different matter to dealing with terrorists per se. There is a
relationship, but this would not affect the commissioning of crime as such

In this regard the review acknowledges the following observations from the
initial response:

'As stated by providing any information which can lead to the
identification of a company could be used to assist a user to discover
terrorist or extremist content.  Any disclosure which provides potential
terrorists/extremists with access to material which encourages/glorifies
acts of terrorism or which otherwise incites or assists others to
participate in such acts would compromise the MPS's ability to accomplish
its core function of law enforcement.

Disclosure of any information which assists in this identification could
allow terrorists to build a picture of the perceived companies of interest
to the CTIRU.  They could then create a company which does not fit this
criteria to avoid detection and publish their material.  Such an
occurrence would undermine the CTIRU's ability to detect such websites
which pose a risk to society.  Disclosure would negate the CTIRU's purpose
of tackling online radicalisation and extremist material to protect the
public and prevent offences that incite or encourage acts of terrorism..'

Disclosure of the information you have requested could cause harm to law
enforcement as it could reveal the level of capability in this area of
policing and would undermine the work of the CTIRU. The review draws your
attention to the following from our original response to you:

By providing the requested information would be in effect disclosing
details of the companies who the CTIRU have made enquiries with.
 Disclosure would therefore be revealing which websites' have and maybe
likely to contain terrorist or extremist material.  Information of this
nature would detail intelligence and the level of policing capability. It
could infer where the police focus was (e.g. which types of websites the
CTIRU were concentrating their efforts) and also identify areas in which
the CTIRU had not focussed on, which could give a misleading picture on
the focus of police activity.

You have argued:

I would also suggest that extremist content take downs are a very
different matter to dealing with terrorists per se. There is a
relationship, but this would not affect the commissioning of crime as
such.

I consider that disclosure of the type of information you have requested
such as the volumes of work, speed of responses, kinds of material
encountered by the CTIRU broken down by platform could cause harm to law
enforcement. As mentioned in our response to you, disclosures under the
Act are placed into the public domain. Disclosures which appear harmless,
pieced together with other disclosures can be used in a 'mosaic effect' to
give a fuller picture to those wishing to evade detection.

This 'cumulative prejudice' or the 'mosaic effect' whereby the information
requested may be of increased significance when combined with other
information obtained through other means and/or at a later date.  The
'mosaic' effect has been described as follows:

'The "mosaic theory" describes a basic precept of intelligence gathering:
Disparate items of information, though individually of limited or no
utility to their possessor, can take on added significance when combined
with other items of information. Combining the items illuminates their
interrelationships and breeds analytic synergies, so that the resulting
mosaic of information is worth more than the sum of its parts.' - Source:
David Pozen, The Mosaic Theory, National Security, and the Freedom of
Information Act, 115 Yale L. J. 628, 630 (2005).

The Information Commissioner's guidance in relation to Law Enforcement
acknowledges the harm that may be caused by the mosaic effect where it
states:

'Mosaic and precedent effects
21. The prejudice test is not limited to the harm that could be caused by
the requested information on its own. Account can be taken of any harm
likely to arise if the requested information were put together with other
information. This is commonly known as the 'mosaic effect'. As explained
in the Information Commissioner's guidance information in the public
domain, the mosaic effect usually considers the prejudice that would be
caused if the requested information was combined with information already
in the public domain.

22. However, some requests can set a precedent, ie complying with one
request would make it more difficult to refuse requests for to refuse
requests for similar information in the future. It is therefore
appropriate to consider any harm that would be caused by combining the
requested information with the information a public authority could be
forced to subsequently provide if the current requested was complied with.
This is known as the precedent effect.'

You have stated that it is in the public interest to disclose the
information you have requested:

However, the removal of material and activities of the police in regard to
what are ultimately free expression issues is a matter of great public
interest. The lack of direct judicial oversight of the decisions being
taken make it all the more important for material to be made public where
possible.

You have added:

Help aid the public understand both the nature of the work, and the kind
of evaluation that is being kept. Indeed, it would be impossible to
imagine these statistics named above would not be kept, thus it is hard to
see how crime or security could possibly be damaged by confirming that
they exist.

Even when this information cannot be made public, it would help for
Parliamentarians, for instance, to be able to inquire more about what is
being done.

Being able to see a list of statistics held (even in part, or with
redactions) would also enable the public and Parliament to better judge
what kinds of reporting might aid transparency and accountability.

However, without any of this information it is extremely hard to judge how
to advance transparency and accountability.

It should be pointed out that with respect to the public interest in this
matter, the decision to remove material from a platform is wholly the
decision of the platform itself.

The role of the CTIRU is to identify and flag material that it assesses to
commit offences contrary to Terrorism legislation (Section 1 & 2 of the
Terrorism Act 2006).

Where the CTIRU assess material that does reach this threshold it refers
the material to the relevant company for them to make their own assessment
as to whether the material brought to their attention should be removed,
judged against their terms of service. Ultimately the decision to remove
material rests with them. The social media companies are very much aware
of the needs to balance 'free expression interests' against the ever
growing threat of terrorism and that is the balance they make when
carrying out their own assessment.

The relationships that the MPS has built and work to maintain in this area
of policing are crucial to the effectiveness of our activities in removing
content that contributes to the narrative that encourages radicalisation
amongst individuals so the removal of terrorist content can be seen as a
key part of prevent activity within the Government's counter terrorism
strategy (CONTEST) and as such we are keen not to reduce the operational
effectiveness of our operations by jeopardising those relationships.

In our press release in December 2016, we stated:

"Removing this material is crucial work. One post or video has the power
to influence vulnerable people and inspire extremists and terrorists, so
every removal really counts.

In this case the review maintains that disclosure of the requested
information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of
crime

Reasons for reliance on Section 24 (1) FoIA - National Security

Section 24 (1) of the Act states 'Information which does not fall within
section 23(1) is exempt information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is
required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.'
Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidance emphasises there is no
definition of national security and refers to the Information Tribunal
(EA/2006/0045) who summarised:
" "National security" means the security of the United Kingdom and its
people;
" The interests of national security are not limited to actions by an
individual which are targeted at the UK, its system of government or its
people;
" The protection of democracy and the legal and constitutional systems of
the state are part of national security as well as military defence;
" Action against a foreign state may be capable indirectly of affecting
the security of the UK;
" Reciprocal co-operation between the UK and other states in combating
international terrorism is capable of promoting the United Kingdom's
national security.

Again, the review takes note of your comments:

'I would point out that statistics would not normally reveal very much
about individual crime but would

I would also suggest that extremist content take downs are a very
different matter to dealing with terrorists per se. There is a
relationship, but this would not affect the commissioning of crime as
such.

It is well documented the lengths that terrorists will go to gather
intelligence to achieve their aims. Disclosures under the Act which may
appear innocuous can be used by terrorists, pieced together with other
information, to assist them when planning acts of terror. I draw your
attention to the following ICO guidance which states 'safeguarding
national security also includes protecting potential targets even if there
is no evidence that an attack is imminent…the Commissioner also recognises
terrorist can be highly motivated and may go to great lengths to gather
intelligence.  This means there may be grounds for withholding what seems
harmless information on the basis that it may assist terrorists when
pieced together with other information they may obtain.'

As mentioned above, whilst national security is not defined under the
Freedom of Information Act, it does include the security of the United
Kingdom and its people.  Disclosing information held in regards to your
specific request would inform the public, including those who would wish
to cause harm.

The review refers to the ICO Decision Notice FS50431593
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
 where the Commissioner drew on the approach set out in a non-freedom of
information case which stated '…If an act is capable of creating
indirectly a real possibility of harm to national security it is in
principle wrong to say that the state must wait until action is taken
which has a direct effect against the United kingdom.' The ICO interpreted
this as 'In effect, this means that there has to be a risk of harm to
national security for the exemption to engage but there is no need for a
public authority to prove that there is a specific, direct or imminent
threat.'

In this regard the review takes note of the harm considerations recorded
in the response provided, namely:

'By disclosing this information would render security measures less
effective. This would lead to the compromise of ongoing or future
operations to protect the security or infra-structure of the UK. The risk
of harm to the public would be increased if unlawful material were
highlighted for individuals to access and perpetrate crimes or provide an
opportunity for terrorist planning.  To counter this, a full review of
security measures would be needed and additional costs would be incurred.'

You have stated:

Therefore I believe there is a public interest in disclosure, at least in
part, of a list of statistics, and that it is extremely unlikely that
every statistic produced cannot be named for reasons of security and crime
prevention

The MPS discloses information about the work of the CTIRU when it is
considered that disclosure would not result in harm. In our response, we
provided you with a link to information disclosed by CTIRU in December
2016 and an extract from the Commissioner's speech on 20/07/2017 in which
she said:

"Since 2010, 270,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material have been
removed by social media providers, following referrals from the
Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit."

I consider that disclosures already in the public domain are sufficient to
satisfy the public interest in this matter.

The review is satisfied that section 24(1) of the Act is appropriately
engaged in this case and that the public interest has been met by previous
disclosures concerning the work of the CTIRU.

Reasons for reliance on Section 23(5) - Information supplied by, or
concerning, certain security bodies.

The duty to confirm or deny in regards to your request for information

In our response to you, we ended by advising that in respect of any
further information relevant to your request, the MPS could neither
confirm nor deny that its holds such information.

The review can advise that section 1(1) (a) of the Act requires a public
authority to inform a requestor whether it holds the information specified
in the request.  This is known as the 'the duty to confirm or deny'. The
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) states, however, that 'there may be
occasions when complying with the duty to confirm or deny under section
1(1) (a) would itself disclose sensitive or potentially damaging
information that falls under an exemption...in these circumstances the Act
allows a public authority to respond by refusing to confirm or deny
whether it holds the requested information. This is called a 'neither
confirm nor deny' (NCND) response.'  

Additional ICO guidance can be found by way of the link below:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

The review takes note of your comment:

While I accept that some statistics may be exempt from disclosure, this
request has been responded in such a way as to suggest the MPS / CTIRU
holds no records of which the mere existence of which can be disclosed. I
find this unlikely.

The use of NCND in a consistent manner is recognised in the ICO guidance
which states 'It can be important to use a neither confirm nor deny
response consistently, every time a certain type of information is
requested, regardless of whether the information is actually held or not.
For this reason public authorities need to be alert to the possibility of
receiving future requests for the same type of information when handling
very specific or detailed requests.'

This consistent approach is further commented upon by the ICO who states,
'There are situations where a public authority will need to use the
neither confirm nor deny response consistently over a series of separate
requests, regardless of whether it holds the requested information. This
is to prevent refusing to confirm or deny being taken as an indication of
whether information is held. Before complying with section 1(1) (a),
public authorities should consider both whether any harm would arise from
confirming that information is held and whether harm would arise from
stating that no information is held. Otherwise, if the same (or same type
of) requests were made on several occasions, a changing response could
reveal whether information was held.'

The review is further guided by the ICO who states 'for many requests that
public authorities receive, their decision to use a neither confirm nor
deny response won't be affected by whether they do or don't in fact hold
the information. The starting point and main focus in most cases will be
theoretical considerations about the consequences of confirming or denying
that a particular type of information is held.' The ICO further reminds
public authorities that they can only refuse to confirm or deny whether it
holds the information, 'if this would itself reveal information that falls
under an exemption'.

Section 23(5) - Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing
with security matters

With respect to the application of this exemption, Section 23(5) provides
'The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that,
compliance with section1 (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).'  The full list of bodies specified in
section 23(3) can be viewed by way of this link
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

In ICO Decision Notice FS50443643
https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
the Commissioner commented '…it can be seen that section 23(5) has a very
wide application. If the information requested is within what could be
described as the ambit of security bodies' operations, section 23(5) is
likely to apply.  This is consistent with the scheme of FOIA because the
security bodies themselves are not subject to its provisions. Factors
indicating whether a request is of this nature will include the functions
of the public authority receiving the request, the subject area to which
the request relates and the actual wording of the request.'
 
Furthermore, in FS50443643 the Commissioner's opinion was that 'the
exemption contained at section 23(5) should be interpreted so that it is
only necessary for a public authority to show that either confirmation or
denial as to whether the requested information is held would involve the
disclosure of information relating to a security body.  It is not
necessary for a public authority to demonstrate that both responses would
disclose such information.  Whether or not a security body is interested
or involved in a particular issue is in itself information relating to a
security body.'

With these considerations in mind, the review is satisfied that section
23(5) is appropriately engaged in regards to your request.

Section 16 - Advice and Assistance

For your information, the CTIRU do not routinely hold standalone records
relating to 'impact' of individual pieces of material. Each individual
record of work contains an evaluation of the material.

Access to information is essential to democratic discourse and open and
informed debate.  The disclosure of information facilitates transparency
and accountability and may increase citizens' empowerment and
participation in society.  However, for the reasons explained above and
given that the current threat level in the UK is 'severe', I consider that
the reliance on Sections 31, 24 and 23 are warranted in this case. The
public interest is met by the MPS regularly and proactively placing
information in the public domain concerning policing operations related to
counter terrorism.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this Internal Review you have
the right to appeal the decision by contacting the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a decision on whether the request for
information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the
FOIA.

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

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113

Yours sincerely

Yvette Taylor
Information Manager

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
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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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