Holding chief officers to account for breaches of Freedom of Information Act

The request was successful.

Dear National Police Chiefs Council,

My first four questions in this information request are general. The fifth is more specific to one police force whose breaches of the Act are flagrant, persistent and long term.

1. Please provide the name of NPCC lead on FOIA compliance.

2. Please direct me to the NPCC policy documents that support the proposition in this APP document that "Chief officers have statutory obligations in relation to the FOIA and will be held to account for breaches of the legislation".

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-co...

I am particularly looking for disclosure of information as to what that 'holding to account' actually amounts to.

3. Please provide any notes of meetings convened by the lead officer, either for the purpose or at which breaches of the Act and sanctions (holding to account) flowing from those breaches was discussed.

4. Please direct me to any formal findings against chief officers over FOIA breaches in the financial years ended 2014, 2015, 2016

5. In the case of North Yorkshire Police (NYP) it has been established that in the past three years that there have been 1,558 breaches of FOIA (there are also 103 breaches of the Data Protection Act in the same period). These is a quantitive analysis disclosed by the force, via recent FOIA requests, based on finalisations outside the statutory 20 working day period. A dip sample, qualitative analysis shows that the problem is actually much worse than the bare figures would imply. Research shows that the problem existed, on a similar scale, at least as far back as 2011. The information requested therefore is:
a. Has the chief officer of NYP referred himself to the NPCC over these breaches?
b. Were the NPCC, or their FOIA lead, aware, by any other means, of these breaches? For example via this published article or via social media or the WhatDoTheyKnow website:
https://neilwilby.com/2016/06/10/chief-c...
c. Are the NYP breaches of a scale that would attract a 'holding to account' by the NPCC?
d. What are the range of sanctions available to the NPCC in these circumstances if a 'holding to account' process was to be invoked?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

National Police Chiefs' Council

2 Attachments

Good afternoon

 

Please find attached NPCC acknowledgement to your Freedom of Information
request.

Kindest regards.

Sherry

 

Sherry Traquair

NPCC Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker

 

National Police Freedom of Information & Data Protection Unit (NPFDU)

PO Box 481, Fareham, PO14 9FS

 

On behalf of:

 

[1]NPCC-blue-RGB

 

National Police Chiefs' Council, 1st Floor,

10 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0NN

 

T   | 02380 478922

M | 077 685 53447

E   | [email address]

W | [2]www.npccc.police.uk

 

For out of hours press enquiries please call 07803 903 686

 

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3. mailto:[email address]

National Police Chiefs' Council

Mr Wilby

I would be grateful if you could provide some clarification in regards to part 3 of your request. What is meant by breaches? Are you requesting recorded information in relation to non-compliance with time compliance (S10)? Or are you seeking information in relation to the offence of altering records with intent to prevent disclosure (S77)?

I have put your request on hold in the interim.

Many thanks.

Sherry

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Dear National Police Chiefs Council,

I refer to your messaage earlier today.

At para 3 'Breaches' in my information request is meant in it's ordinary meaning:

"an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct".

I trust this will assist you in dealing with the request promptly.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

National Police Chiefs' Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon

 

Please find attached NPCC response to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Kindest regards.

Sherry

 

Sherry Traquair

NPCC Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker

 

National Police Freedom of Information & Data Protection Unit (NPFDU)

PO Box 481, Fareham, PO14 9FS

 

T   | 02380 478922

M | 077 685 53447

E   | [1][National Police Chiefs Council request email]

W | [2]www.npccc.police.uk

 

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1. mailto:[National Police Chiefs Council request email]
2. http://www.npccc.police.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]

Dear National Police Chiefs Council,

Thank you for the prompt resonse to my information request. I am grateful.

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

This is a formal request for an internal review of National Police Chiefs Council's handling of my FOI request 'Holding chief officers to account for breaches of Freedom of Information Act'.

Q1. Thank you for the information concerning Ian Redhead. No further question or complaint arises. I am, however, drawn to a press comment he made on 5th July, 2016 the relevance of which becomes more clear at Q's 2, 3, 4, and 5.

"Public trust is key to good policing. Abuse of that trust is unacceptable and, in the rare cases where staff fail to meet our high professional standards, they will be held to account and dealt with appropriately."

It is assumed that, in using the term "staff", Mr Redhead intended to include the data controllers themselves responsible for breaches.

Q2. As an investigative journalist, I am also an experienced FOIA practitioner and very familiar with the ICO, all ICO Guidance and the College of Policing's APP on FOI. Your response does not, however, address at all the main thrust of the question: 'I am particularly looking for information as to what 'holding to account' amounts to. For example, and by way of clarification, what sanctions are applied by the NPCC, and by whom, to chief officers (who are also, by default, data controllers) who persistently breach the Act?

Q3. The man on the Clapham omnibus would find it extraordinary that, if the NPCC publish information to the effect that chief officers are held to account over FOIA breaches, there are no meetings at which potential breaches, actual breaches or sanctions has ever been discussed. In those circumstances, one has to question the role of Mr Redhead and its terms of reference. Accordingly, you are invited to search again for the information requested. I have located this weblink which may be of assistance to you:

http://www.npcc.police.uk/NationalPolici...

Q4. Perhaps the question wasn't phrased as concisely as it might have been? It was intended to draw disclosure of action that the NPCC had taken in the years mentioned, not that taken by the ICO. Can (ayou please. therfore, re-address the question in that light?

Q5. The response at (a) is noted. No further question or complaint arises.

At (b) it is my submission that the information by which the breaches came to light should have been disclosed. That is to say all the quarterly returns that highlighted the fact that the chief constable of North Yorkshire was in persistent and flagrant breach of the Act.

At (c) and (d) your responses would again perplex the man on the Clapham omnibus. The inference being that the NPCC has set out to deliberately mislead both the policing community and the wider public by way of the proposition that there is a mechanism for either' holding to account', or applying sanctions over FOIA breaches. In the light of the potential seriousness of such an admission you are invited to search for the requested information again.

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

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Independent Police Support Group left an annotation ()

Neil,

I think it is unikely that you will get the answer you want.

Mr Readhead was complained of previously to Hampshire police authority when he was DCC and the force was supplied with a statement concerning an allegation of breach of RIPA and other concerns.

At an ET he was accused of threatening a police whistleblower at his home address whilst the officer was off sick.

He set up ACRO prior to retiring and there are news articles on his annual salary for that, there are some concerns regarding how this was all set up and located in Hampshire.

Mr Readhead also features in goodcopdown.wordpress.com

Good luck with this request, we will monitor its progress.

Neil Wilby left an annotation ()

Thank you for your annotation:

May I ask the following?

1. What was the allegation made in the complaint made against Mr Redhead to HPA - and the complaint outcome.

2. Can I have a copy of the statment made in support of the HPA complaint?

3. If it explicitly mentions Mr Redhead, can I have a copy of the ET judgment to which you refer?

4. What, specifically, are concerns regarding how ACRO was all set up by Mr Redhead and located in Hampshire?

Finally, I cannot locate a reference to Mr Redhead on the goodcopdown website.

Any assistance you can provide would be helpful to me in substantiating an article I am writing. This concerns the NPCC's (and Mr Redhead's) seeming lack of rigour over industrial scale data and information breaches.

National Police Chiefs' Council

1 Attachment

Good morning

 

Please find attached NPCC acknowledgement of your request for an internal
review of your Freedom of Information response reference 253/16.

kindest regards.

Sherry

 

Sherry Traquair

NPCC Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker

 

National Police Freedom of Information & Data Protection Unit (NPFDU)

PO Box 481, Fareham, PO14 9FS

 

T   | 02380 478922

M | 077 685 53447

E   | [National Police Chiefs Council request email]

W | [1]www.npccc.police.uk

 

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1. http://www.npccc.police.uk/
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Dear National Police Chiefs Council,

Thank you for the prompt acknowledgement.

With regard to Q1, it has been brought to my attention that Commissioner Dyson also has responsibilities within NPCC concerning FOIA.

http://www.npcc.police.uk/NPCCBusinessAr...

As part of the review could you clarify the roles of both he and Mr Reahead. Particularly, as to who is the most senior?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

National Police Chiefs' Council

Mr Wilby

I have passed on your email to our reviewer.

Sherry

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National Police Chiefs' Council

1 Attachment

Good morning

 

Please find attached the NPCC response to your FOI Internal Review.

 

Best wishes

Rebecca Warhurst

 

Rebecca Warhurst

Deputy Manager

National Police FOI & DP Central Referral Unit

National Police Chiefs’ Council

T. 0844-8929010

A. c/o ACRO, PO BOX 481, PO14 9FS

E. [1][email address]

W. [2]www.npcc.police.uk

For out of hours press enquiries please call 07803 903 686

 

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National Police Chiefs' Council

1 Attachment

Good morning

 

Please find attached NPCC FOI response to your Freedom of Information
request.

Kindest regards.

Sherry

 

Sherry Traquair

NPCC Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker

 

National Police Freedom of Information & Data Protection Unit (NPFDU)

PO Box 481, Fareham, PO14 9FS

 

T   | 02380 478922

M | 077 685 53447

E   | [National Police Chiefs Council request email]

W | [1]www.npccc.police.uk

 

 

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