Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Please provide me with the following detail per month, per borough preferably in Excel-compatile format, and in electronic format in any case:

(1) The number of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) by MPS officers

(2) The breakdown by type of the initial place of safety those individuals in (1) where brought to (i.e., s136 suite, emergency department, custody suite, or other)

(3) The breakdown by type of vehicle those individuals in (1) were conveyed to a place of safety (i.e., ambulance, police vehicle, or other)

(4) The breakdown by gender of those individuals in (1)

(5) The breakdown by ethnicity of those individuals in (1)

(6) The breakdown of whether those individuals in (1) were considered to be suffering from the effects of drink or drugs

(7) The breakdown of whether of those individuals in (1) were restrained

s16 advice under the FoI Act to a request last year [ref 1], also about s136 of the MHA, appears to suggest that the data I am requesting can be provided within acceptable time/cost limit restrictions if I limit my request to 12 months. In consideration of this advice, I would appreciate receiving the data above per month, per borough for the period of January 2012 to December 2012.

In case this advice doesn't directly apply to my request and one year would still exceed the acceptable time/cost limit, please provide the requested data per month, per borough for as many consecutive months as possible within acceptable time/cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

David Mery

Ref 1: "You may wish to narrow your request for the number of Forms 434 returned to MPS Boroughs in connection with the use of police actions under section 136 Mental Health Act 1983 between April 2011 and March 2012." http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/de...

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr. Mery

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013020002714
I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 25/02/2013.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

"Please provide me with the following detail per month, per borough
preferably in Excel-compatile format, and in electronic format in any
case:
   
(1) The number of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act
(MHA) by MPS officers
   
(2) The breakdown by type of the initial place of safety those
individuals in (1) where brought to (i.e., s136 suite, emergency
department, custody suite, or other)
   
(3) The breakdown by type of vehicle those individuals in (1) were
conveyed to a place of safety (i.e., ambulance, police vehicle, or other)
   
(4) The breakdown by gender of those individuals in (1)
   
(5) The breakdown by ethnicity of those individuals in (1)
   
(6) The breakdown of whether those individuals in (1) were
considered to be suffering from the effects of drink or drugs
   
(7) The breakdown of whether of those individuals in (1) were
restrained
         
s16 advice under the FoI Act to a request last year [ref 1], also about
s136 of the MHA, appears to suggest that the data I am requesting can be
provided within acceptable time/cost limit restrictions if I limit my
request to 12 months. In consideration of this advice, I would appreciate
receiving the data above per month, per borough for the period of January
2012 to December 2012.
   
In case this advice doesn't directly apply to my request and one year
would still exceed the acceptable time/cost limit, please provide the
requested data per month, per borough for as many consecutive months as
possible within acceptable time/cost limit.
   
Ref 1: "You may wish to narrow your request for the number of Forms
434 returned to MPS Boroughs in connection with the use of police actions
under section 136 Mental Health Act 1983 between April 2011 and March
2012."
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/de...
   

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to
the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party.  In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve this
deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

R. Loizou
Administration Team Officer
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Mery

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013020002714

I write in connection with your following request for information which
was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 25/02/2013. I
note you seek access to the following information:

"Please provide me with the following detail per month, per borough
preferably in Excel - compatible format, and in electronic format in any
case:
1. The number of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act
(MHA) by MPS officers.
2.  The breakdown by type of the initial place of safety those individuals
in (1) where brought to (ie s136 suite, emergency department, custody
suite, or other).
3.  The breakdown by type of vehicle those individuals in (1) were
conveyed to a place of safety (ie ambulance, police vehicle, or other).
4.  The breakdown by gender of those individuals in (1).
5. The breakdown by ethnicity of those individuals in (1).
6.  The breakdown of whether those individuals in (1) were considered to
be suffering from the effects of drink or drugs.
7. The breakdown of whether of those individuals in (1) were Restrained."

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to
your request within the cost threshold.  

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter
therefore acts as a Refusal Notice. Please see the legal annex at the end
of this response for the relevant extracts of the legislation which apply.

We estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the
appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations
and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate
of £25 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

Upon receipt of your request searches were conducted within the
Territorial Policing Command, central Mental Health Unit, TP Criminal
Justice Unit, and the Mental Health Liaison Officers on all 32 boroughs.

In relation to Question 1 alone, it is not possible to answer this
question within the cost threshold.

There is currently no central recording system in place that recorded the
number of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act (MHA)
by MPS officers for the period January 2012 to December 2012.

In order to retrieve this information for the whole Greater London area, a
potential minimum number of 2665 Form 434's would need to be searched for
and the relevant information retrieved from each of the 32 London
boroughs. These records, once located, would then need to be manually read
through in order to extract the number of individuals detained under s136.
In addition, as there is no standardized system or way in which this
information is stored on each borough this would further increase the time
taken to ascertain what is held.

If it took only one minute to locate and retrieve each of the 2665 Form
434's (the forms that must be completed for every detention using Section
136), an extremely conservative estimate for this task alone, then it
would take well in excess of 44 hours just to locate the records.
Additional time would then be required to read through each file. This
would therefore far exceed the 18 hour cost threshold stipulated by the
Act and it would therefore not be possible to comply with Section 1(1)(a)
of the Act.

Therefore, the information that you have requested in Question 1 is exempt
by virtue of Section 12(2) of the Act.

Please note that the Information Commissioner's guidance states that
'Section 12 makes it clear that a public authority does not have to make a
precise calculation of the costs of complying with a request. Only an
estimate is required ... what amounts to a reasonable estimate can only be
considered on a case by case basis.' In addition, the Commissioner also
advises 'where a reasonable estimate has been made that the appropriate
limit would be exceeded, there is no requirement for a public authority to
undertake work up to the limit.'  

Section 16 - Advice and Assistance

Under Section 16 of the Act (duty to assist) we are required to offer you
advice and assistance in connection with your request so that it falls
within the cost limit. If you were to specify specific borough(s) that you
are interested in receiving the information requested at Question 1 of
your request, then it may be possible to answer your request within the
cost threshold. It may also be possible to answer Questions 2 to 7 of your
request within the cost threshold. If however, to narrow your request to a
borough would also exceed the cost threshold I shall be in contact as soon
as possible.

Please note that any new re-defined request would need to be re-considered
in order to establish whether Section 12 of the Act would again be
engaged. Please note that there is no guarantee, due to the nature of your
request, that a reduction in this way would reduce the scope of your
request enough to bring this within the cost limit.

I would also like to take this opportunity to explain to you a public
authority's right to aggregate requests of a similar nature from an
applicant.

Section 12(4) of the Act provides:

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority-
(a) by one person, or
(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.

Therefore, if you were to submit a separate request asking for information
relating to specific boroughs, we would be within our rights to aggregate
these requests. This is set out in Section 5 of The Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Therefore, you would need to leave a 'reasonable' period between
submitting such requests, which is '60 consecutive working days'.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact Deborah Solomon on telephone number 0207 161 4291 quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Inspector Westoby
Mental Health Team
TP Criminal Justice

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 1(1)(a) of the Act provides:

(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is
entitled-
(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request,

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time
for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that
fact.

Section 12(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

Section 5 of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004

"5.  - (1) In circumstances in which this regulation applies, where two or
more requests for information to which section 1(1) of the 2000 Act would,
apart from the appropriate limit, to any extent apply, are made to a
public authority -
(a) by one person, or

(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the total costs which may be taken into account by the authority, under
regulation 4, of complying with all of them.

    (2) This regulation applies in circumstances in which-
(a) the two or more requests referred to in paragraph (1) relate, to any
extent, to the same or similar information, and

(b) those requests are received by the public authority within any period
of sixty consecutive working days.
    (3) In this regulation, "working day" means any day other than a
Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank
holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971[4] in any part
of the United Kingdom."
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk

Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)'s handling of my FOI request 'MHA Section 136'.

In his refusal response, Inspector Westoby helpfully wrote 'for the whole Greater London area, a potential minimum number of 2665 Form 434's [...] each of the 2665 Form 434's [...]'.

Can you please clarify how Inspector Westoby reached this number of 2665? As from reading SOPs, the form 434 is used exclusively for detention under s136 of the MHA, the number of filled in forms 434 is an exact proxy that could be used to answer in full my question (1) without having to read the forms at all.

As these forms are not centralised and remain with the boroughs, you would already have a count by borough.

Depending if they're in monthly folders or not, you may be able to provide monthly numbers or only for the whole year.

Please provide an answer to question (1) or clarify why it is not possible to do so without having to read the content of the forms.

(I understand that to answer any of my other questions would indeed require reading the forms. Knowing the number of individuals detained under s136 of the MHA per borough, which as explained above I believe is possible with just simple counts of the number of forms, would enable me to chose some boroughs for which to ask the same questions with a high likelihood that the request would then fit within the reasonable time/cost limit, which would be more productive for all.)

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

Yours faithfully,

David Mery

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Mery

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013030001671

I write in connection with your request for a review of the original MPS
decision relating to 2013020002714 which was received by the Metropolitan
Police Service (MPS) on 13/03/2013.  

Your request for a review will now be considered in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response to
your request for a review of the original MPS case within a timescale of
20 working days.  In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve
this deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

Yours sincerely

Peter Deja
Policy and Support Officer
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Dear Mr Deja,

Your review is overdue.

Yours faithfully,

David Mery

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr. Mery

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013030001671

Further to your complaint concerning your request for information
(reference 2013020002714) under the Freedom of Information Act I have
unfortunately been unable to

meet the response time in regards to your case.

I hope to complete your review no later than 13th May 2013. Should there
be any unforeseen delay, I will contact you and update you as soon as
possible.

I apologise for the delay.

Yours sincerely

Mike Lyng

FOIA Quality and Assurance Advisor

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk

Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Dear Mr Lyng,

Your review is still overdue. You have now also missed your self extended deadline and failed to update me for this 'unforeseen delay'.

Yours faithfully,

David Mery

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr. Mery

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013030001671

I write in connection with your correspondence dated 13th March 2013
requesting that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) review its response
to your request for information (ref: 2013020002714).  Firstly, may I
apologise for the delay to this review response. The request was as
follows:

Original request

Please provide me with the following detail per month, per borough
preferably in Excel - compatible format, and in electronic format in any
case:

1. The number of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act
(MHA) by MPS officers.
2.  The breakdown by type of the initial place of safety those individuals
in (1) where brought to (ie s136 suite, emergency department, custody
suite, or other).
3.  The breakdown by type of vehicle those individuals in (1) were
conveyed to a place of safety (ie ambulance, police vehicle, or other).
4.  The breakdown by gender of those individuals in (1).
5. The breakdown by ethnicity of those individuals in (1).
6.  The breakdown of whether those individuals in (1) were considered to
be suffering from the effects of drink or drugs.
7. The breakdown of whether of those individuals in (1) were Restrained.

Request for Review

In his refusal response, Inspector Westoby helpfully wrote 'for the whole
Greater London area, a potential minimum number of 2665 Form 434's [...]
each of the 2665 Form 434's [...]'.
     
Can you please clarify how Inspector Westoby reached this number of  2665?
As from reading SOPs, the form 434 is used exclusively for detention under
s136 of the MHA, the number of filled in forms 434 is an exact proxy that
could be used to answer in full my question (1) without having to read the
forms at all.
     
As these forms are not centralised and remain with the boroughs, you would
already have a count by borough. Depending if they're in monthly folders
or not, you may be able to provide monthly numbers or only for the whole
year. Please provide an answer to question (1) or clarify why it is not
possible to do so without having to read the content of the forms.
     
(I understand that to answer any of my other questions would indeed
require reading the forms. Knowing the number of individuals detained
under s136 of the MHA per borough, which as explained above I believe is
possible with just simple counts of the number of forms, would enable me
to chose some boroughs for which to ask the same questions with a high
likelihood that the request would     then fit within the reasonable
time/cost limit, which would be more productive for all.)

DECISION

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has completed its review and has
decided to vary the original subsection engaged in this case. The review
has varied the subsection from section 12(2) to section 12(1) Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FoIA) - where the cost of complying with the request
would exceed the appropriate limit.

Reason for decision

Section 1(1) of FoIA states any person making a request for information to
a public authority is entitled to  (a) to be informed in writing whether
it holds information of the description specified in the request , and (b)
if that is the case, to have that information communicated to them. In
this regard the review takes note of your original request which seeks
information including The number of individuals detained under s136 of the
Mental Health Act (MHA) by MPS officers  In this respect the review gives
attention to the original MPS refusal notice which states ‘There is
currently no central recording system in place that recorded the number of
individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) by MPS
officers for the period January 2012 to December 2012.’

Aggregation of requests

The review is satisfied that the secondary legislation relevant in this
case is Section 5 The Freedom of Information and Data Protection
(Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 which states ‘two or more
requests for information made to a public authority (a) by one person …
can be aggregated when estimating the cost of compliance’. Further details
of this Regulation can be found by way of this link:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance states ‘Regulation
5(2) of the Fees Regulations require that the requests which are to be
aggregated relate “to any extent” to the same or similar information.  A
public authority needs to consider each case on its own facts but requests
are likely to relate to the same or similar information where, for
example, the requestor has expressly linked the requests , or where there
is an overarching theme or common thread running between the requests in
terms of the nature of the information that has been requested.’

The ICO therefore clarifies that a public authority should ensure that
each request can be aggregated in accordance with the conditions laid out
in the fees regulations.  All of your questions relate to the same
overarching theme of individuals detained under s136 of the Mental Health
Act and therefore the review is satisfied the whole request can be
aggregated for the purpose of cost threshold.  

The ICO guidance in respect of the use of Section 12 suggests that if one
portion of the whole request exceeds cost (for example, one question out
of three), then the entire request does and following this it is incumbent
upon the Public Authority to engage with the applicant in order to bring
the request within cost. This is supported by ICO Decision Notice
FS50194062 (paragraph 24) where the ICO was of the opinion that ‘where the
appropriate limit is exceeded the public authority should advise the
applicant what information could be provided within the cost limit. In
this way the applicant has the chance to choose what element of the
request he wants to focus on.’  The decision notice can be found by way of
this link:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/d...

In this regard the review gives attention to the advice provided to you in
the original MPS response, namely ‘Under Section 16 of the Act (duty to
assist) we are required to offer you advice and assistance in connection
with your request so that it falls within the cost limit. If you were to
specify specific borough(s) that you are interested in receiving the
information requested at Question 1 of your request, then it may be
possible to answer your request within the cost threshold. It may also be
possible to answer Questions 2 to 7 of your request within the cost
threshold. If however, to narrow your request to a borough would also
exceed the cost threshold I shall be in contact as soon as possible.’

Cost of compliance

The review takes into consideration your comment "As these forms are not
centralised and remain with the boroughs, you would already have a count
by borough. Depending if they're in monthly folders or not, you may be
able to provide monthly numbers or only for the whole year. Please provide
an answer to question (1) or clarify why it is not possible to do so
without having to read the content of the forms.’ The review also notes
the MPS initial response, namely ‘In order to retrieve this information
for the whole Greater London area, a potential minimum number of 2665 Form
434's would need to be searched for and the relevant information retrieved
from each of the 32 London boroughs. These records, once located, would
then need to be manually read through in order to extract the number of
individuals detained under s136. In addition, as there is no standardized
system or way in which this information is stored on each borough.’

Section 12(1) subsection (1) does not oblige a public authority to comply
with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.  Further
details of the FoIA can be found by way of this link:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

The ICO further advises on using the Fees regulations  ‘Section 12 makes
it clear that a public authority does not have to make a precise
calculation of the costs of complying with a request.  Only an estimate is
required ... what amounts to a reasonable estimate can only be considered
on a case by case basis.'  The ICO also advises 'where a reasonable
estimate has been made that the appropriate limit would be exceeded, there
is no requirement for a public authority to undertake work up to the
limit.’  In this regard the review takes account of the original MPS
response ‘In order to retrieve this information for the whole Greater
London area, a potential minimum number of 2665 Form 434's would need to
be searched for and the relevant information retrieved from each of the 32
London boroughs…’ In this regard the review acknowledges your comment ‘Can
you please clarify how Inspector Westoby reached this number of 2665? As
from reading SOPs, the form 434 is used exclusively for detention under
s136 of the MHA,’ the review has established that this ‘potential figure’
of 2665 Form 434’s was compiled from initial enquiries with each of the 32
MPS Borough Operational Command Units (BOCU). The figure provided is
therefore not an exact number and was merely provided to assist in
providing you with a reasonable estimation of the time it will take to
locate and extract the information you seek.  

The review can further advise that the Form 434 is a dual purpose booklet.
Section 1 deals with Section 136 Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) and Section
2 deals with Sections 5-6 Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). Therefore, in
order to locate, retrieve and extract information pertinent to your
request will entail contacting the 32 BOCU’s within the MPS.  A member of
police staff at each location would then have to manually read a number of
records to initially establish if the Form 434 relates to s136 MHA or s5-6
MCA. It was found in a previous FoIA request that the Form 434 is not
always returned to the Borough and in some cases remains with the staff at
the place of safety.  Information may additionally be held on the MPS
Computer Aided Despatch (CAD) systems and other records.

To provide you with a reasonable estimation even if the initial search for
question 1 took just 1 minute, this would equate to 25 hours for every
1,500 records. It is clear this aspect of your request will exceed the
appropriate 18 hour limit set out under the FoIA legislation. This
estimation does not include the time for the remainder of your request for
questions 2 to 7.

Section 16 Advice and Assistance

Section 16 provides an obligation for a public authority to provide advice
and assistance to a person making a request, so far as it would be
reasonable to do so. In ICO Decision Notice FS50194062 it states ‘ …if a
public authority provides an indication of what, if any, information could
be provided within the costs limit it will have complied with the
requirements of the Code of Practice and therefore section 16(1) of the
Act.’

The review can advise you that you may wish to narrow your request to Form
434 received centrally and the data already extracted since 1st January
2013, in connection with the use of police actions under section 136
Mental Health Act 1983 (Section 1 of the booklet).

Conclusion

I hope the explanation provided clarifies why on this occasion the MPS has
subsequently engaged12 (1) FoIA - where the cost of compliance with your
request exceeds the appropriate limit of 18 hours.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact Mike Lyng on 0207 161 3605 or write quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely

Mike Lyng
FoIA Quality and Assurance Advisor

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

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Dear Mr Lyng,

Thank you for this review and the clarifications.

Yours faithfully,

David Mery

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