Delegation of Appropriate Authority powers under the Police Reform Act 2002

Neil Wilby made this Freedom of Information request to North Yorkshire Police

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 partially successful.

Dear North Yorkshire Police,

Please provide the following information by way of request under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000:

1. Copies of all Deeds of Delegation concerning the transfer of Appropriate Authority responsibilities of the Chief Constable to any other member of his police force in respect of recording and investigating complaints against police officers.

Broken down by financial year:

2012/13
2013/14
2014/15
2015/16

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Bates, Robert, North Yorkshire Police

Classification: PROTECT

Good morning,

I write to acknowledge the receipt of your Freedom of Information request. This has been marked as received on the 01 July 2016 and recorded under the reference 305.2016-17.

Kind regards,

Robert Bates
Collar Number 5480
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics
 
Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number please state each number individually.
 
Web: www.northyorkshire.police.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthYorkshirePolice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NYorksPolice

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Dear North Yorkshire Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North Yorkshire Police's handling of my FOI request 'Delegation of Appropriate Authority powers under the Police Reform Act 2002'.

The grounds for review are:

1. The request was not finalised within the statutory 20 working day period.

2. The manner in which this information request has been dealt with is outside College of Policing's Authorised Professional Practice in respect of FOIA requests.

3. It is claimed, in open letter to me, by solicitors acting for the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police that my nineteen previous FOIA requests to NYP have all been 'vexatious'. Please provide ALL the documentary evidence that supports these assertions. Emails, meeting notes, briefing notes, logs, pocket books and the like.

For the avoidance of doubt the question of ANY of my requests being 'vexatious', let alone all, has never once been raised with me by the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, or by any of his Civil Disclosure Unit or Legal Services staff with whom I correspond frequently.

4. Please state in open correspondence, on this website, whether this particular FOIA request is classified as 'vexatious'. If so, please state the reasons and reference your answer to Dransfield (Upper Tribunal before Judge Wikely) which is now the leading legal authority on the topic.

5. It is further claimed by the same solicitors (Weightmans) that in each and every case - not limited to my own FOIA requests - all information requests finalised on behalf of the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police have been, and are, compliant with FOIA. Please provide ALL documentary evidence that supports that assertion. Date request received, URN, date finalised, date review requested (if any), date review finalised, for the past three complete financial years.

6. Failure to comply with statute and authorised professional practice constitutes, in the case of this and all other non-compliant FOIA's, a breach of the College of Policing's Code of Ethics. All complaint rights against the Head of Joint Corporate Services are reserved, pending receipt of the above review.

7. You are reminded that the review is required to be delivered within 20 working days. I accept that you may wish to treat the requested information at paras 3, 4 and 5 as new requests, The period for finalisation is the same: 20 working days.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Dear North Yorkshire Police,

I write further to my request for an internal review sent earlier today.

It has been brought to my attention that at least two other FOIA requests to NYP (via WhatDoTheyKnow), which were received well beyond the date mine was submitted, have either been finalised or part-finalised.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

On the face of these (and other) occurences, an unethical prejudicial, discriminatory approach to requests that I make is (again) disclosed. Accordingly, I would be grateful please insert the following as point 1 (a) in the internal review and provide the following information and explanation:

(i) How many other FOIA requests were dealt with out of turn and ahead of mine?
(ii) Please identify by URN
(iii) Why are my FOIA requests systematically delayed, sometimes weeks, other times months and in one case for over a year.

Please acknowledge receipt of the internal review, and this amendment, at your earliest convenience.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Dear North Yorkshire Police,

May I have the courtesy of an acknowledgement/response to the two emails sent to you on 2nd August?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Fryar, Liz, North Yorkshire Police

Classification: PROTECT

Dear Mr Wilby,

Thank you for your requests for internal reviews received by North Yorkshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire on 2 August 2016, including the amendment below.

Your requests will be reviewed, and a response will be sent to you in due course.

Kind Regards

Liz

Liz Fryar
Collar Number 4437
Legal Officer – Civil Disclosure
Joint Corporate Legal Services
North Yorkshire Police

Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number please state each number individually.

www.northyorkshire.police.uk

Committed to the Code of Ethics

THIS EMAIL AND ANY ATTACHMENT(S) MAY BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE - PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THE CONTENT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT ASKING JOINT CORPORATE LEGAL SERVICES

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Bates, Robert, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Classification: PROTECT

Good afternoon,

Please find attached North Yorkshire Police's response to your Freedom of Information request referenced 305.2016-17. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying to your request.

Kind regards,

Robert Bates
Collar Number 5480
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics
 
Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number please state each number individually.
 
Web: www.northyorkshire.police.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthYorkshirePolice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NYorksPolice

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Dear North Yorkshire Police,

Thank you for providing a response to this FOI request, albeit outside of your statutory obligation.

You already have my request for an internal review, which is due for finalisation on 30th August.

Please add the following paragraphs to that internal review:

2 (b) The information provided by the force does not, on the face of what is disclosed, satisfy the request, or even go close to it. It is implicit in the request that I have made that the information sought is documentary evidence of transfer of statutory powers of the Chief Constable within the legislative framework applicable to police complaints. If that is by means less formal than a Deed, then disclose the letter, email or briefing note by which the transfer was made.

If no such information or documents exist then you are invited to state that plainly when finalising this review.

2 (c) The manner of the finalisation of this request and the unexplained delay in providing it, is, taken together with the history of other non compliant requests, in my submission, calculated to vex, harass and annoy, obstruct my work as an investigative journalist and put me to needless expense in dealing with reviews such as this.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Civil Disclosure, North Yorkshire Police

Classification: PROTECT

Dear Mr Wilby,

Thank you for your internal review request below, which has been received by North Yorkshire Police.

This has now been logged and a response will be sent to you in due course.

Regards

Caroline Williams
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
Collar Number 5982
Joint Corporate Legal Services
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number, please state each number individually.

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Dear Civil Disclosure,

The internal review requested on 2nd August has not been finalised within the 20 working day period.

That part of the request has been passed to the Information Commissioner's Office as a complaint.

This latest breach of the Act will also go to the evidence in the County Court claim that I issued against the Chief Constable (Ref C1QZ56W6) on 9th June, 2016: The solicitor acting for the chief has asserted in the Defence, filed at court and served on me on 15th July, 2016, that all my requests will, in future, be dealt with in a compliant manner.

There appears to be a tension between what the court has been told by the Chief Constable's solicitor and the truth of the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby

Fryar, Liz, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Classification: PROTECT

Classification: PROTECT

Good afternoon,

 

Please see attached response to your request for an internal review
(305.2016-17),

 

Kind Regards

 

Liz

 

Liz Fryar

Collar Number 4437

Legal Officer – Civil Disclosure

Joint Corporate Legal Services

North Yorkshire Police

 

Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday.

 

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number.
If using my collar number please state each number individually.

 

[1]www.northyorkshire.police.uk

 

 

Committed to the Code of Ethics

 

THIS EMAIL AND ANY ATTACHMENT(S) MAY BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
PRIVILEGE - PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THE CONTENT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT
ASKING JOINT CORPORATE LEGAL SERVICES

 

 

 

IR 305.2016-17.pdf
PROTECT

IR 305.2016-17.pdf
PROTECT

show quoted sections

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/

Fryar, Liz, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Classification: PROTECT

Good afternoon,

 

Please see attached response to your request for an internal review (PCC
427.2016-17),

 

Kind Regards

 

Liz

 

Liz Fryar

Collar Number 4437

Legal Officer – Civil Disclosure

Joint Corporate Legal Services

North Yorkshire Police

 

Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday.

 

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number.
If using my collar number please state each number individually.

 

[1]www.northyorkshire.police.uk

 

 

Committed to the Code of Ethics

 

THIS EMAIL AND ANY ATTACHMENT(S) MAY BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
PRIVILEGE - PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THE CONTENT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT
ASKING JOINT CORPORATE LEGAL SERVICES

 

 

 

 

PCC IR 427.2016-17.pdf
PROTECT

show quoted sections

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/

Dear Information Commissioner

(copied to North Yorkshire Police on WhatDoTheyKnow),

This matter referred to the ICO as a complaint. It has been published here, and will be repeated in a forthcoming article, as there is a need for the public to clearly understand how the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (NYPCC), North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and the Civil Disclosure Unit (CDU) which falls under the remit of that office, actually goes about its business.

There is a complete audit of the correspondence trail from request to finalisation of internal review above this complaint.

The grounds for the complaint are as follows (the same numbering protocol is used as in the internal review outcome):

1. a. This response is largely false and intended not only to deceive me, but the wider public. To my certain knowledge, since 2011, NYPCC and NYP CDU have averaged 400 to 500 non-compliant requests every year.
b. No data has been provided to support the proposition that CDU is experiencing a 'high volume of requests' or there is a 'steep rise in their numbers'. There is no evidence of either of those propositions on either the WhatDoTheyKnow website, or on the force's FOIA Disclosure Log. This complaint seeks to put CDU to proof on that point.
c. An examination of both the WhatDoTheyKnow website or on force's FOIA Disclosure Log reveals no evidence of information requests of unusual complexity. This complaint seeks to put CDU to proof on that point.
d. The proposition that answering questions 1 (i)(ii)(iii) is 'futile' and 'not in the public interest', is in my submission outside the scope of the Act and the data controller misdirects herself in relying on such argument. Substantial public interest, both in the legal sense and in the sense of what interests the public as far as what they might find out about their police force or elected policing representative, has been created by the article I have published on my website about just some of the catastrophic failures of NYPCC and NYP's Civil Disclosure Unit:
https://neilwilby.com/2016/06/10/chief-c...
There is also significant public interest in the outcome of the Huddersfield County Court claim (C5Q21V8) in which I am claimant and the NYPCC is defendant and in which a declaration is sought concerning the persistent lawbreaking concerning the FOIA (and DPA). In that claim, for which a public hearing is listed for 11th October, 2016. In that claim it is pleaded that NYPCC regularly discriminates against me. The refusal by CDU to answer questions 1(i)(ii) and(iii) is designed only to frustrate that claim and prevent further reputational damage to NYPCC.
As an investigative journalist and justice campaigner active in North Yorkshire, I am also aware of the regular and perverse disclosure failures in both civil and criminal matters, which include flagrant breaches of Section 8 Orders. The deceit uncovered in those matters does not serve either NYPCC, the force of which she has oversight, or the CDU well. It further goes to the evidence of what I have complained about both in the county court matter and in this complaint to the ICO.
The fact that there have been a total of 34 FOI requests and internal reviews made by me (to two data controllers) reflects the level of non-compliance in the operations of North Yorkshire Police and NYPCC. I have discovered, not just those relating to FOI and DPA. These are the other areas I have looked into and founds failings of varying degrees:
- Deeds of Delegation (the subject of the instant request, internal review and ICO complaint)
- ACPO Authorised Professional Practice
- Code of Ethics
- 101 service
- Decision Notices
- Account and Audit Regulations
- Police Conduct Regulations
- Criminal Investigative Procedure
- Search Warrants
- Civil Procedure Rules
I have written numerous articles that either focus directly, or touch upon, the above subject matter. The requests made, or internal reviews where provided, have contributed to those articles.
In short, the number of requests is entirely proportionate for an investigative journalist to make in the present circumstances.
Conversely, and perversely, I have not found one single area of either NYPCC's or NYP's areas of business, or operations, that is compliant with either statute, statutory guidance, approved professional practice or applicable regulations. In short, this is a police force - and a policing body - that simply laughs at the law of the land.

2. The admitted breach of the Authorised Professional Practice (APP) is noted. However, they extend beyond the simple admission of 'we don't always meet timescales'.:
(i) If the force cannot immediately reply to a request, they should send an acknowledgement letter containing an estimated end date: The standard practice of NYPCC/NYP CDU is to state finalisations will be provided 'in due course'.
(ii) Once the final response (to a request) is provided, the force must deal with any subsequent request for an internal review within 20 working days: This rarely, if ever, happens in the case of NYPCC/NYP's CDU.
(iii) If an extension is required then the force should tell the applicant as soon as possible, together with an outline of which qualified exemption(s) is/are engaged: This never happens in the case of NYPCC/NYP's CDU.
(iv) The internal review stage is an opportunity to consider a request completely afresh. It should be an INDEPENDENT review of the original decision. This process should not be overly bureaucratic. The force must issue a fresh response, compliant with FOIA section 17 if appropriate: There has never been any evidence, in any internal request finalised by CDU, of either considering the request afresh or, particularly, of any independence. Reviews by NYPCC/NYP CDU are always carried out by peers, and not supervisors or managers.
(v) The Information Commissioner’s Office has produced a model publication scheme that must be adopted by forces. This is an integral part of FOIA compliance. A police sector specific definitions document has been created by the Information Commissioner’s Office that must be adhered to. NYPCC and NYP's CDU are non-compliant in this area. For example, the force's FOI disclosure is updated only sporadically, in a haphazard manner and with the most damaging finalisations excluded.
(vi) The Public Interest Test (PIT) factors favouring non-disclosure are generally the same as those established during the harm stage. The FOI unit should identify the positives that may be derived from disclosure. The PIT factors must relate to the actual information requested on a case-by-case basis. Forces should collate all the positive and negative public interest factors. Forces also need to conduct a balance test to determine whether the information should be withheld. The public interest is not what the public may find interesting. There must be some tangible benefit to the community in such a disclosure. If any positives and negatives are equally balanced, then it is clear in the legislation that the information must be disclosed: NYPCC and CDU persistently misapply this test. Their guiding factor, on all available evidence is that if it harms the reputation of the PCC's office, or the force, then the automatic presumption is against this disclosure and argument, such as it is, arranged around that pre-ordained decision.
(vii) NYPCC and NYP appear to have no FOI publication strategy when dealing with high profile or major incidents. An effective strategy may reduce the impact of FOI requests linked to the event and allows the force to manage disclosure. SIOs in conjunction with their FOI units should consider the strategy at an early stage: Two high profile investigations, Operations Hyson and Rome, account for a significant number of my information requests. A cogent policy of disclosure would have avoided some if not all of those. Instead, NYPCC/NYP have operated a furtive 'special measures' programme in which all requests concerning these investigations have been first vetted, then quarantined, and if finalised (not all are at the date of this complaint) then non-compliant outcomes provided and subsequent reviews of those requests delayed.
For the convenience of the ICO investigator this is a link to CoP APPFOI http://www.app.college.police.uk/app-con...
(b) No reasonable, independent person could arrive at the conclusion that directing me to hyperlinks answered the request adequately, or appropriately. The response in the review merely adds to that finding. The suspicion that I wished to either confirm, or allay, in making the request - based on knowledge of non-compliance in other business and operational areas of NYPCC - was that the Deeds of Delegation that I sought had either not been properly executed, or did not exist at all. Additionally, I was in possession of the information, given to me by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, that the NYPCC Acting Chief Executive had purported to act as delegate of the chief constable in connection with a complaint matter concerning Jane Wintermeyer, who is the Head of the Civil Disclosure Unit and also the Force Solicitor, without the appropriate Deed of Delegation being in place. It follows, therefore, that the CDU would have been very well aware of the rationale behind the request and were prepared to depart from data principles, APP and the Act to cover up the fact that the Deeds of Delegation of which I requested sight did not actually exist.
(c) The response given is not satisfactory. I have raised the conduct issues relating to the vexing, annoying and harassing conduct a number of times with the CDU. I have also raised it twice with the Professional Standards Unit of NYP. Not one of those emails received any response, or even acknowledgement. The subject matter clearly required a substantive response from a senior officer. The admission that not every email receives a response is noted. The inference that may be drawn by the ICO is those emails that contain difficult, or potentially damaging, subject matter are ignored by CDU or by NYP's department responsible for maintaining ethical and professional standards. The ICO is invited to make a finding on this point having taken the rest of this complaint in the round. The district judge at Huddersfield County Court will, of course, be making findings of fact concerning the persistent non-compliance and expense issues.

3. Firstly, the response does not in any way address this point raised in my internal review. CDU has neither disclosed the relevant materials requested, nor confirmed they are not held by NYPCC. That is a further departure from data principles, APP and the Act.
Secondly, in so far as it is relevant to the finalisation of this review (which I submit it is not) I can state with absolute certainty that no letter has been received from me from Weightmans dated 4th August, 2016. CDU is invited to produce such a letter to the ICO.

4. The response to this point is a curiosity. You claim that I have asked for personal information and have sought the opinion of the NYOPCC, but do not evidence those assertions in any way. They are, in any event, rejected by me and the ICO is invited to make a finding. Conversely and perversely, you disclose personal information (to which I raise no objection whatsoever in a wider sense) in breach of data principles. For example, information concerning the number of requests/reviews of requests that I have made this year and the purported existence of specific correspondence between myself and Weightmans.

5. The response is a deliberate and calculated falsehood. This is a vebatim extract from para 3 of the Defence filed in the county court claim C5QZ21V8 by NYPCC. It is a public document obtainable by anyone on paying a copying fee at the court.
"the requests have either complied with (the Act), and/or are vexatious and/or will be complied with (the Act)". The ICO are invited to make an appropriate finding in the light of the NYPCC response and the pleadings at court.

6. The data controller has misdirected herself under the Act by relying on a S42 exemption. Mr Stephen Hodgson was not acting on instructions from NYPCC, had no remit whatsoever in the matters referred to and was, on any independent view, acting on his own motion in support of a colleague (with Cleveland OPCC, not NYPCC) who was under severe criticism over non-compliance in a number of areas for which he had responsibility. Legal Professional Privilege simply does not apply in this case. To rely on such an exemption you would need to produce to the ICO, as part of your response to this complaint, documentary evidence that he was formally instructed on matters upon which he was making comment. We already know that no deeds of delegation exist, by way of the instant internal review finalisation, either in favour of his colleague, Mr Dennis, or Mr Hodgson himself. Further, and in any event, it is argued that the materials sought by me concerning Mr Hodgson, even if any existed, would not fall for exemption taken at their face. There is a strong public interest, both in the general and legal sense, when solicitors (who are also officers of the court) set out to deliberately deceive members of the public in this way with nefarious motive. The very fact that Mr Hodgson works, in fact, for Cleveland OPCC and not NYPCC, only serves to heighten that public interest and the necessity for disclosure.

7. Does not form part of the ICO complaint.

Summary

This complaint is the second (the first concerned an NYP data access outcome) in what is likely to be a lengthy series. There is an established pattern of not only non-compliance with the Act and APP revealed in my extended dealings with NYPCC and NYP's CDU, but a level of deceit and subterfuge that is entirely unacceptable in any public authority, let alone, as in this case, a policing body. The ICO, for their part, have been approached a number of times via social media in recent months to highlight deep concerns over persistent and long standing non-compliance by both data controllers. Their response has been weak to non-existent. This complaint, therefore, assumes greater significance that would ordinarily be the case in that it takes on the status of bellweather as to their effectiveness as a watchdog.

Disclosure

It is requested that CDU disclose all their working papers, including internal/external emails, letter correspondence, briefing notes, meeting notes, PNB entries, day book entries and the like releated to both the instant request and the subsequent internal review to both the ICO (unredacted) and myself (redacted only where necessary).

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

North Yorkshire Police contacted the WhatDoTheyKnow.com team drawing our attention to the accidental release of what the force consider to be the requestor's personal information in the correspondence.

The material in question is statistics on the requestor's FOI requests - statistics which appear to be broadly in-line with what the requestor makes public by their use of our service, along with material which the requestor has included in their own correspondence and so has pro-actively released.

If any individual contacts us asking us to cease publishing their personal information we will of course consider carefully anything they put to us, but as of now, given what we know, we're happy to continue to publish the correspondence.

--
Richard WhatDoTheyKnow.com Volunteer