Freemasonry in the West Midlands Police

Mat made this Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Police

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

West Midlands Police did not have the information requested.

Dear West Midlands Police,

I refer to a number of news articles that stipulate that freemasonry declaration should be compulsory. We would be grateful if you responded to the following questions

1. What is the West Midlands Police force's policy for Freemasonry. Can you provide a copy.
2. How many freemasons are in the West Midlands Police force.
3. Please confirm the position of West Midlands Police in terms of conflicts in criminal cases.
4. Please confirm whether Mark Wilkinson, an ex officer of West Midlands Police was a freemason.
5. Please confirm whether the person in[4] provided supportive reference for a sex offenders in any court cases involving West Midlands Police.
6. Please outline your policy for investigation in the event there has been masonic involvement in a criminal case.

Thankyou

Yours faithfully,

Mat Smith

b_foi, West Midlands Police

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Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your request for information, received 15th March
2011 concerning Freemasons etc.

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined by the Act, subject
to the application of any statutory exemptions. Where consideration is
being given to the application of any exemptions the 20 working day
timescale may be extended under the terms of the Act to a period
considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your
request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised
time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with
your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information requested, where the request exceeds the statutory limit.
In such cases you will be informed in writing and the 20 working day
timescale will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your
request is modified and /or reduced. If you chose not to make full payment
or modify your request then the request will remain unanswered.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public
authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Unit

dennis fallon left an annotation ()

See my Ministry of Justice FOI query `freemasons in midlands court circuit` to see how they avoid disclosing the truth.It`s all a massive coverup, including the judges.

Mat left an annotation ()

West Midlands Police and Freemasonry.

to be made available.[25] It was supplied to us on 5 March. We now deal with each case in turn.

The West Midlands Serious Crimes Squad

14. The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad was arguably the most complained about unit in what was the most complained about police force in the country. Before and after it was disbanded in August 1989 the convictions of more than thirty people were quashed by the Court of Appeal after allegations of police malpractice, and most have been awarded large sums in compensation. Systematic fabrication of confessions was the main allegation. Among the more shocking cases was that of Derek Treadaway. Mr Treadaway was one of several men who alleged that he had been persuaded to confess by having a plastic bag held over his head until he lost consciousness. He was eventually awarded £50,000 damages against the West Midlands police. The judge said he was satisfied "to a high degree of probability" that Mr Treadway had been telling the truth and that the police officers had been lying.
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-off...

Another link of interest
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Police+acc...

Also
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-60540152...

b_foi, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Your request for information, received 15 March 2011, concerning
Freemasonry has now been considered. This request has been handled under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The cost of providing all of the requested information, and therefore
compliance with your request, is above the amount to which we are legally
required to respond. The Freemasons is not a prescribed organisation and
information on membership is not centrally collated. Therefore to compile
any statistics on membership would necessitate a search of all personnel
records to see if any information were recorded. Although excess cost
removes the forceÂ*s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as
a gesture of goodwill I can supply information relative to your request. I
trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on
the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.

West Midlands Police do not have any policy with respect to Freemasonry.
Applications to join West Midlands Police do not stipulate an applicant
must declare if they are a member of the Freemasons and there is nothing
in Force or ACPO Vetting policy with regard to Freemasons.

The cost of compliance with your request is above the amount to which we
are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving
the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12
of the Freedom of information Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the
appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004, S.I. 3244. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
this letter acts as a refusal notice.

Your attention is drawn to your right to request a re-examination of your
case under West Midlands Police review procedure, which can be found at:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/pdf/F...

Please note that such an appeal must be received within six months of the
date of this correspondence.

If you require any further information, then please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Carl Bird

Freedom of Information Unit

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Dear West Midlands Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Midlands Police's handling of my FOI request 'Freemasonry in the West Midlands Police'.

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

Yours faithfully,

Mat

b_foi, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST REFERENCE No: 4469_11

I acknowledge receipt of your letter, received 13^th April 2011,
requesting West Midlands Police to review its response to your request for
information concerning Freemasonry.

The review will be conducted in accordance with the West Midlands Police
review procedure and every effort will be made to have a response to you
by 12^th May 2011. However, if it becomes clear that the review will not
be completed by this date you will be advised.

If you wish to discuss this matter prior to West Midlands PoliceÂ*s
response, please contact me,

Yours sincerely,

Karen Satterthwaite

Force Delivery Manager

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William Old left an annotation ()

Unfortunately, the enquirer seems to be somewhat misguided, and the paranoiac claim of a "massive cover-up" doesn't help his case.

Matt, you need to understand that Freemasonry is a wide-ranging organisation comprising many Masonic orders.

Did you want the result to include members of women's Masonic orders, of which there are a number (particularly in the North of England), or members of Masonic orders that admit both men and women? And if any of the preceding information comes as a surprise to you, then I'm afraid you really don't know enough about Freemasonry to be asking these sorts of question under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mat left an annotation ()

I think they were basic questions based on the information the Police provided to the media. No cover-up alleged. The questions revolved around accountability. I was merely interested.

b_foi, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST REFERENCE No:4469_11

Thank you for your email received 12 April 2011 where you requested West
Midlands Police to review its response to your request for information
concerning freemasonry within West Midlands Police.

I have investigated this case and found the following:

A reply was provided within the 20 working day limit.

Substantial investigations were undertaken to try to locate relevant
information, with Professional Standards Department, Staffing Information
and the Force Policy Co-ordinator all being consulted.

The request was refused because to answer question 2 (how many freemasons
are in West Midlands Police) would exceed the statutory limit.

Relevant information was supplied, even though the request would exceed
the statutory limit.

A review has been conducted and the decision is upheld in part for the
following reasons:

West Midlands Police has no central register of officers who are members
of the freemasons and there is no requirement for one to be held.
Therefore the response was correct to refuse the request on grounds of
cost.

West Midlands Police interpret the £450 cost limit outlined in the Act
as 18 hours of work per request (£25 per hour per person per hour).
There are approximately 14,000 officers and staff within West Midlands
Police and therefore for a search to be completed within the 18 hour limit
less than 5 seconds could be devoted to each member of staffÂ*s record.
It is clear that information on whether a member of staffÂ*s membership
or otherwise of the Freemasons could be recorded anywhere (e.g. in an
email). Therefore any search would have to include all information
regarding each officer. It is difficult to put a time limit on how long a
search of all this material would take, but it is clear that it would take
much longer than an hour. If this conservative estimate of one hour is
taken then to be able to search all the relevant information would take
14,000 hours.

We therefore estimate that it take more than £350,000 to comply with
your request.

If any one part of a request exceeds the statutory limit, then the whole
request is deemed to do so. I note that, despite this, the response gave
some information relevant to your request, even though there is no legal
obligation to do so.

However the response did not ask you to refine your request which it
should have done. In this respect the reply you received was insufficient
and I would ask you to refine your request to allow us to locate and
extract the relevant data within the statutory limit.

After receiving your refined request, it will be considered and you will
receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as
defined by the Act, subject to the application of any statutory
exemptions. If you chose not to respond then your request will remain
unanswered.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
CommissionerÂ*s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

Karen Satterthwaite

Acting Force Delivery Manager

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Dear b_foi,

Thankyou for taking the time to respond.

Please review this http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/fr...

I include links to various media articles that specify the links between West Midlands Police and freemasonry. It is clear that declarations had to be made in the past. Please confirm what data can be supplied by yourselves.

Yours sincerely,

Mat

b_foi, West Midlands Police

Mr Smith

Thank you for your response. For the sake of clarity could you confirm to me that you are refining your request to ask for the results of the survey mentioned in the following link, which appears to have been undertaken in 1999?

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Police+acc...

To enable us to proceed with your request I would be grateful if you could confirm whether you wish us to provide the information outlined above. After receiving your reply, your request will be considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined by the Act, subject to the application of any statutory exemptions. If you chose not to respond then your request will remain unanswered.

Yours sincerely,

Karen Satterthwaite
Acting Force Delivery Manager

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Dear b_foi,

Yes.

Yours sincerely,

Mat

b_foi, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your request for information, received 16th May 2011

Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined by the Act, subject to the application of any statutory exemptions. Where consideration is being given to the application of any exemptions the 20 working day timescale may be extended under the terms of the Act to a period considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information requested, where the request exceeds the statutory limit. In such cases you will be informed in writing and the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your request is modified and /or reduced. If you chose not to make full payment or modify your request then the request will remain unanswered.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Unit

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b_foi, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your request for information clarified on 13 May 2011
concerning results of a survey undertaken in 1999 regarding Freemasons.
This request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Unfortunately the information you requested is not held by West Midlands
Police.

Your attention is drawn to your right to request a re-examination of your
case under West Midlands Police review procedure, which can be found at:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/pdf/F...

Please note that such an appeal must be received within six months of the
date of this correspondence.

If you require any further information, then please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Carl Bird

Freedom of Information Unit

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dennis fallon left an annotation ()

Sorry to appear rude,Mr Smith,as I sense you are well able to make your own decisions.I often find `information not held` means it has been destroyed, even in the previous few days.Interesting to ask WHERE the results of the survey would have been kept and WHEN and WHY, and under whose authority, the results would have been destroyed.

Dear b_foi,

1. Please clarify when this information was deleted
2. Please clarify whether this information was ever held.
3. Please forward this for a review.
4. Given you have no policy for freemasonry or its involvement in crime and you have no means of recording freemasonary membership, we conclude that you have no way of conducting a meaningful investigation of undue influence or corruption caused by freemasons. Is this correct?
5. Please clarify the type of database that was held concerning freemasonry and the documents and discussions surrounding its destruction.
6. Please provide any documents forcewide regarding freemasonry and police issues.
7. Please provide the documents supplied to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Freemasonry involving the Serious Crime Squad. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-off...

Yours sincerely,

Mat

b_foi, West Midlands Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST REFERENCE No: 4653_11

Thank you for your email received June 2011 where you requested West
Midlands Police to review its response to your request for information
concerning the results of a 1999 survey into Freemasonry.

A review has been conducted and the findings are outlined below.

For the original request the Chief ConstableÂ*s correspondence log was
checked and it held no information as far back as 1999. Although the
Chief ConstableÂ*s office is the most obvious place to look it is not the
only place that the requested information may have been held.

Therefore for the Internal Review I asked for searches to be made of our
HR Department, our Research Manager and the Press Office. No information
was held by our HR Department or our Research Manager, but fortunately the
results were recorded on the Press Office database. All the information
they have recorded is provided in this response (see attachment).

As the Internal Review has now located the information requested by you on
13 May 2011, when you refined your request, I now consider your enquiry
complete.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
CommissionerÂ*s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,

Karen Satterthwaite

Force Delivery Manager

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