Dear Cambridgeshire Constabulary,
I wish to request an internal review for rejected FOI request asking for information on modern slavery incidents (FOI2019/06561).
My internal review request is being made on the basis that a FOIA 2000 section 23 and section 23(1) exemption has been incorrectly applied. Therefore, I am raising this matter internally with the view of escalating with the Information Commissioner's Office should I not receive the data requested.
- Security exemption -
Whilst the Act does provide exemptions on data provision which "directly" or "indirectly" reference a named security body within the Act, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), the original request (case ref FOI2019/06561) petitions for information which is no longer provided as part of data-sharing protocols with the NCA as a Competent Authority (CA). As you know, as of 2019 the Home Office subsumed all the functions of other CAs (including the NCA) as one new 'Single Competent Authority'. The original Freedom of Information request falls significantly outside of the cessation of the NCA's involvement in NRM decision-making which is now solely managed by the Home Office. The Act does not list the Home Office as a named "security body" which, therefore, invalidates your rejection on the grounds of Section 23(1).
- Precedent -
Forms of this data are already in the public domain. National Referral Mechanism referrals and MS1 forms, or 'duties to notify', are outlined in HM Government's annual Modern Slavery Report released on 18th October in three consecutive years. Furthermore, two constabularies (City of London and Bedfordshire) have already provided the report logs requested. The disclosure of identical information by similar policing bodies, along with the Government and Home Office's willingness to provide similar data on referrals, further discredits your claim that the requested data has any security implications under Section 23 in its entirety, let alone 23(1) specifically.
- Public interest test -
In light of the irrelevant application of Section 23(1) in the rejection of case ref FOI2019/06561, a public interest test therefore applies to this request. The data requested does not pertain to any sensitive information with security implications or information relating to the crime itself. The data references opening codes listed in the Home Office Counting Rules which pertain only to referrals to support for victims. To deny the clear public interest in victims' recourse to both justice and crime-specific aftercare as a result of crime reporting is to ignore the significant attention media outlets, the public, and policy makers pay to data integrity matters. The simple information requested by myself in the first instance is clearly capable of passing a public interest test.
For these reasons outlined, I wish for this case to be reconsidered as part of an internal review, and will revoke my corresponding complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office upon a satisfactory response.
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