IPCC and Costello Report

The request was partially successful.

Dear Staffordshire Police,

Operation Kalmia was an IPCC managed investigation which arose after the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of a number of men who had been jailed in connection with the murder of Kevin NUNES. The appeal court judges were very critical of the failure of Staffordshire Police to disclose a 'management review' which was referred to as the 'Costello Report'

I have made request to both the IPCC and Staffordshire Police for disclosure of the Costello Report, which was heavily quoted in the judgement of the appeal court. Both Staffordshire Police and the IPCC have refused to disclose the " Costello Report" each citing different exemptions under the Act.

The IPCC have refused to disclose the Costello Report citing the exemption that the report was provided by a security body i.e. Staffordshire Police. Staffordshire Police state that whilst they are "minded" to disclose a redacted version of the report, they state that:-

' Staffordshire Police were subject to a Document Handling Agreement which prohibited dissemination of the Costello Report without the IPCC’s written agreement. The IPCC have not agreed to the disclosure of the report by Staffordshire Police.

The situation now seems farcical, in that on one hand the IPCC are unable to disclose as the Costello Report belongs to Staffordshire Police, on the other hand Staffordshire Police state that they are 'minded' to disclose the Costello Report but cannot do so because the IPCC have not given their consent.

In view of the above I request the following:

1. A copy of the Document Handling Agreement between Staffordshire Police and the IPCC in respect of Operation Kalmia, in particular as it relates to the Costello Report.

2. Copies of any correspondence including emails between the IPCC and Staffordshire police concerning requests for disclosure of the Costello Report.

3. Dates and minutes of any meetings between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police where the subject of disclosure of the Costello Report where discussed or mentioned.

4. Copies of any advice or instruction given by the IPCC to Staffordshire Police in connection with the disclosure of the Costello Report.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Staffordshire Police

Thank you for your FOI request.  You will receive a response in due
course.
Regards
Tracey Brindley
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Central Disclosure Unit
Staffordshire Police

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Dear Staffordshire Police,

My FIO request is overdue, the FIO Act provides statutory time limits for public bodies to respond to requests made under the Act, Staffordshire Police has failed to comply with the Act within the specified time period. I would like to request an internal review into the delay and the failure to provide the information requested.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Staffordshire Police

Thank you for your request for an internal review.  You will receive a
response in due course.
Regards
Tracey Brindley
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Central Disclosure Unit
Staffordshire Police

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Mr L. Anderson left an annotation ()

Staffordshire Police failed to respond to both the initial request and to a request for an internal review with the timescales set by the FOIA, I have therefore referred the matter to the Information Commissioner.

Pat James (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Staffordshire Police need to be reminded of their code of ethics and the obligations to the public, which is a requirement of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Freedom of Information, Staffordshire Police

5 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson,

 

I apologise for the delay in responding to your requests.

 

Please see attached responses to your requests 7147 and 7148 which have
been prepared by Tracey Brindley.  In answer to your internal  review
7242, it was expected that your request  7148 would have been answered on
time.  However, the FOI team have been experiencing a backlog of work for
some time which has made it difficult to deal with the process and
awaiting approval.

 

Once again apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

Kind regards

 

Julie Ferrie  

 

Freedom of Information

Central Disclosure Unit

Staffordshire Police

Tel. 01785 232411

 

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for your correspondence dated 27th September 2016. I do have some issues with the finding of your internal review, however I will refer those directly to the Information Commissioner.

I would like to point out however that your response appears to contain replies to more than one FIO request made by myself], one made on the 17th March 2016 requesting a copy of the Costello report and the second made on the 12th July 2016 requesting a details of the Document Handling Agreement etc. [Your Ref: FIO7147 & FIO7148

Whilst each of this requests are related they were made separately and therefore are shown on the whatdotheyknow.com website as individual requests. In order to maintain the correct chronology could I please ask that you readdress the correspondence in relation to the earlier FIO request to that particular entry, this will assist any interested parties in following the process.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

Freedom of Information, Staffordshire Police

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson,

 

Apologies.  Please see attached response.

 

Kind regards

 

Julie Ferrie

 

Freedom of Information

Central Disclosure Unit

Staffordshire Police

Tel. 01785 232411

 

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

Mr L. Anderson left an annotation ()

A response was received on the 27rh September 2016, which included a document related to a separate FIO request, consequently Staffordshire Police was notified and the response was resent on the 28th September without the extra document.

Mr L. Anderson left an annotation ()

The request was refused and therefore I have referred the matter to the Informatiom Commissioner.

Freedom of Information, Staffordshire Police

Dear Mr Anderson,

 

Staffordshire Police have received the above complaint with regard to your
request for an internal review on the 11 August 2016, stating that we have
not yet provided you with a response.

 

A response to this internal review (our Ref. 7242) was sent to you on the
27 September 2016 via email, together with responses for two other
requests Ref. 7147 and 7148.  You then responded on the same date asking
for two of the responses to be sent via their respective email addresses,
which was carried out on the 28 September 2016.

 

Regards

 

Julie Ferrie

 

OFFICIAL

 

Central Disclosure Unit

Staffordshire Police HQ

P.O. Box 3167

Stafford

ST16 9JZ

T: switchboard 101

T: direct dial 01785 232195

E: [Staffordshire Police request email]

 

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Dear Freedom of Information,

With regards to your correspondence dated 20th December 2016, I note your comments indicating that you felt the email sent on the 27th September 2016 constituted your formal response to the request I made for an internal review on the 11rh August 2016.

I agree that on the 27th September 2016, I did receive an email which included the following comments:-

"In answer to your internal review7242, it was expected that your request 7148 would have been answered on time. However, the FOI team have been experiencing a backlog of work for some time which has made it difficult to deal with the process and awaiting approval."

Having requested an internal review into the time taken by Staffordshire Police, I had expected a similarly formal reply to that included by error in the correspondence to me on the 27th September 2016? This matter was referred to the Office of The Information Commissioner prior to your response on the 27th September 2016, and it is clear from their communication to you that they also did not view the email comments to be a formal response to my internal review request made under the FIO Act.

I do understand that the workload of Staffordshire Police's FIO department must be difficult to manage with increasing number of applications being made, and I genuinely sympathise with individual staff members , however balancing the workload of the department so that the statutory timescales can be adhered to is a matter for senior managers .

Referring matters to the Information Commissioner is the only way members of the public can highlight when public bodies fail to meet the standards required under the Act. In my experience Staffordshire Police have repeatedly failed to respond my requests within the required timescales. In this particular instance a reply from Staffordshire Police only came after the intervention of the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

Freedom of Information, Staffordshire Police

Dear Mr Anderson,

The FOI Act does not stipulate what format a response should be provided in, i.e. email/letter and we treat both as formal responses.

Your comments are noted with regard to our workload.

Regards

Julie Ferrie

OFFICIAL

Central Disclosure Unit
Staffordshire Police HQ
P.O. Box 3167
Stafford
ST16 9JZ
T: switchboard 101
T: direct dial 01785 232195
E: [Staffordshire Police request email]

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