Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

I understand that the police discovered that messages had been deleted from Millie Dowler's voice mail shortly after she went missing. It has been reported that this lead her parents believing that she was still alive.

I would have thought that it would be trivial for the police to have traced the source of the calls that deleted the messages - presumably back to the person paid by the News of the World to hack the messages.

Accordingly I cannot understand why the police would not have acted on this at the time, and why the police would have given Millie's parents misleading information.

So - I would like copies of any documents/reports that relate to the police discovering that messages had been deleted, and documents/reports showing what action was taken regarding this discovery - such as tracing the calls and communicating this information to Millies family.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Perrin

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070001377
I respond in connection with your request for information dated 08/07/2011
which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 08/07/2011.
I note you seek access to the following information:

I understand that the police discovered that messages had been deleted
from Millie Dowler's voice mail shortly after she went missing.
I would like copies of any documents/reports that relate to the police
discovering that messages had been deleted, and documents/reports showing
what action was taken regarding this discovery - such as tracing the calls
and communicating this information to Millies family.

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 on telephone number 020 7230 4019 quoting our reference number.

Yours sincerely

Peter Royan-Posse
Case Investigation 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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011070001377
I respond in connection with your request for information dated 08/07/2011
which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 08/07/2011.
I note you seek access to the following information:

I understand that the police discovered that messages had been deleted
from Millie Dowler's voice mail shortly after she went missing.
I would like copies of any documents/reports that relate to the police
discovering that messages had been deleted, and documents/reports showing
what action was taken regarding this discovery - such as tracing the calls
and communicating this information to Millies family.

DECISION

The MPS can neither confirm nor deny that it holds the information you
requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Act does not apply, by
virtue of the following exemption:

Section 30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by Public
Authorities

In line with Section 17(1) of the Act it is required that we articulate
the public interest considerations for the use of NCND for a Section 30
exemption.

A public authority can only apply section 30(3) if the requested
information - if it were held - would fall within the scope of the section
30 exemption. If the requested information is held, the relevant
subsection would be section 30(1)(a)(i) and (ii). This concerns
information that is held at any time for the purposes of any investigation
which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being
ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether
a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.

Section 30 is a class based qualified exemption and consideration must be
given as to whether there is a public interest in neither confirming nor
denying the information exists is the appropriate response.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S30
Information, if it were held, would be gathered for the purposes of an
investigation.
There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and
providing assurance that the MPS is appropriately and effectively dealing
with crime. This is particularly pertinent in high profile cases where
there is a high degree of media speculation.

Factors against confirmation or denial for S30
The MPS is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime
and protecting the communities we serve.
The MPS will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so
would adversely affect these important roles. Whilst there is a public
interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing
assurance that the MPS is appropriately and effectively dealing with
crime, there is a strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of
police investigations and operations and in maintaining confidence in the
MPS.

The release of this information, if it were held would serve no policing
function and would be purely for curiosity purposes.

As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing enquiries are
appropriate and balanced, this will only be overridden in exceptional
circumstances.

It is not in the public interest to disrupt any investigative process by
confirming or denying the information you requested.

It is for these reasons that the Public Interest must favour neither
confirming nor denying that the requested information is held.

This explanation should not be taken as indicating that the information
you have requested exists or does not exist.

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 on telephone number 020 7230 4019 quoting our reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Royan-Posse
Case Investigation Officer

LEGAL ANNEX

17(1) Refusal of request.
(1)A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision of Part II relating
to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim
that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying
with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which***
(a)states that fact,
(b)specifies the exemption in question, and
(c)states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.
(3)The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).

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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Thank you for your response.

In light of the fact that it has been reported in the press what the police 'knew', this can only have been communicated to the press by the police themselves.

So can you supply me with copies of the communications the police have had with journalists to give them this information?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Perrin

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011080000180
I respond in connection with your request for information dated 30/07/2011
which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/07/2011.
I note you seek access to the following information:

ALLEGATIONS OF MILLIE DOWLER VOICEMAIL DELETIONS:
In light of the fact that it has been reported in the press what the
police 'knew', this can only have been communicated to the press by the
police themselves.
So can you supply me with copies of the communications the police have had
with journalists to give them this information?

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 on telephone number 020 7230 4019 quoting our reference number.

Yours sincerely

Peter Royan-Posse
Case Investigation 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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011080000180

I respond in connection with your request for information dated 30/07/2011
which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/07/2011.
I note you seek access to the following information:

ALLEGATIONS OF MILLIE DOWLER VOICEMAIL DELETIONS:
In light of the fact that it has been reported in the press what the
police 'knew', this can only have been communicated to the press by the
police themselves.
So can you supply me with copies of the communications the police have had
with journalists to give them this information?

DECISION

The MPS can neither confirm nor deny that it holds the information you
requested as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Act does not apply, by
virtue of the following exemption:

Section 30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by Public
Authorities

In line with Section 17(1) of the Act it is required that we articulate
the public interest considerations for the use of NCND for a Section 30
exemption.

Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Act that are referred
to in this response.

A public authority can only apply section 30(3) if the requested
information - if it were held - would fall within the scope of the section
30 exemption. If the requested information is held, the relevant
subsection would be section 30(1)(a)(i) and (ii). This concerns
information that is held at any time for the purposes of any investigation
which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being
ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether
a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.

Section 30 is a class based qualified exemption and consideration must be
given as to whether there is a public interest in neither confirming nor
denying the information exists is the appropriate response.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S30
Information, if it were held, would be gathered for the purposes of an
investigation.
There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and
providing assurance that the MPS is appropriately and effectively dealing
with crime. This is particularly pertinent in high profile cases where
there is a high degree of media speculation.

Factors against confirmation or denial for S30
The MPS is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime
and protecting the communities we serve.
The MPS will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so
would adversely affect these important roles. Whilst there is a public
interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing
assurance that the MPS is appropriately and effectively dealing with
crime, there is a strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of
police investigations and operations and in maintaining confidence in the
MPS.

The release of this information, if it were held would serve no policing
function and would be purely for curiosity purposes.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Akers, head of Operation Weeting said on
07/07/2011:
'To protect the privacy of those people who do not want to be identified
we are not going to comment on individual cases or be drawn on details of
those allegedly affected published in the media.'

Her full statement may be found at:
http://content.met.police.uk/News/Statem...

Whilst there is a public interest in knowing that policing enquiries are
appropriate and balanced, there is a considerable public interest in
maintaining the integrity of the investigation process.

It is not in the public interest to disrupt any investigative process by
confirming or denying the information you requested.

It is for these reasons that the Public Interest must favour neither
confirming nor denying that the requested information is held.

This explanation should not be taken as indicating that the information
you have requested exists or does not exist.

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 on telephone number 020 7230 4019 quoting our reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Royan-Posse
Case Investigation Officer

LEGAL ANNEX

17(1) Refusal of request.
(1)A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision of Part II relating
to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim
that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying
with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-
(a)states that fact,
(b)specifies the exemption in question, and
(c)states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.
(3)The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).
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

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London - on the streets and in
your community, working with you to make our city 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).

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 'Millie Dowler Voice Mail Deletions'.

My request has been rejected on the basis that it relates to an on going case and the assertion that it would be 'for curiosity' only.

Firstly, I am only asking for copies of information that you have already supplied to the press - so it is hard to understand how making this information available to me (having already done so to the press) can have any impact on any case in progress.

Secondly, it is not purely 'curiosity' - the story published in the press does not make sense (for the reasons set out in my original request) - either the police have given the press an irrational account of events or the press have fabricated such an account on their own. I believe it is important to establish whether the police or press are responsible for this.

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

Yours faithfully,

Paul Perrin

P. John left an annotation ()

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

- Einstein

If the MPS had more curiosity, and less shameless corruption, the villains who interfered with Millie Dowler's voice mail might be in jail.

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

I requested an internal review of this request and response - can you confirm that this is in progress, and give me an indication of when you expect it to be complete?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Perrin

P. John left an annotation ()

Telegraph; Detectives hunting Milly Dowler's killer had phones hacked, Leveson Inquiry hears

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/p...

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Internal Review Reference No: 2011090001448

I write in connection with your letter dated 08/09/2011 requesting that
the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) review its response dated 16/08/2011
to your request for information relating to:

* FOIA Conmplaint pertaining to closed case 20111080000180.

I have unfortunately been unable to complete a full internal review within
our target response time of 20 working days.  The MPS endeavour to respond
to your complaint ASAP and in any case no later than 10/11/2011.

Should there be any unforeseen delay, I will contact you and update you as
soon as possible.

Please accept my apologies for the delay and thank you for your patience

Should you have any further queries concerning this matter, please contact
me on telephone number 0207 161 3705 or at the address at the top of the
letter quoting the reference number above.

Thank you for your interest in the MPS.

Yours sincerely

Brian Wilson
FOIA Complaints 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).

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Perrin

Freedom of Information Internal Review Reference No: 2011090001448

I write in connection with your letter dated 08/09/2011 which has been
logged as a complaint relating to Freedom of Information Act request
reference number 2011080000180.  The information requested was as follows:

REQUEST IN RELATION TO MILLIE DOWLER VOICEMAIL DELETIONS;

In light of the fact that it has been reported in the press what the
police 'knew', this can only have been communicated to the press by the
police themselves.  So can you supply me with copies of the communications
the police have had with journalists to give them this information?

DECISION

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has completed its review and has
decided to:
·        Uphold the decision

REASON FOR DECISION        

Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 that are referred to in this letter.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 creates a statutory right of access to
information held by public authorities. A public authority in receipt of a
request must confirm whether they hold the requested information and if
so, communicate it to the applicant. Furthermore, the Freedom of
Information Act is designed to place information into the public domain.
Therefore, once access to information is granted to one person under the
Act, it is then considered to be public information and must be
communicated to any individual upon request.  In accordance with this
principle, the MPS routinely publishes information disclosed under the
Freedom of Information Act on the MPS Internet site
(http://www.met.police.uk/foi/disclosure/....

The right of access to information is subject to a number of exemptions
that are designed to enable public authorities to withhold information
that is not suitable for release.

The Duty to Confirm or Deny

Under Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, any person
making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be
informed in writing whether it holds the information specified in the
request.  The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance titled ‘The
duty to confirm or deny’ states:

‘If information has been requested but is not held, it will normally be
reasonable to inform the applicant of this fact. However, there may be
some exceptional cases where it would not even be right to confirm or deny
that information requested was held. For instance, in the areas of
policing, it would not make sense to allow criminals to discover if they
were under suspicion and, if so, to discover the extent of those
suspicions.’

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...

To further illustrate the potential harm that may result from the MPS
issuing a statement confirming or denying whether information is held, I
have outlined 3 hypothetical scenarios below in which:
·        Subject A is the individual, group or subject the MPS does not
hold information about
·        Subject B is the individual, group or subject MPS does hold
information about

Scenario 1 - The MPS confirms that information is not held in relation to
Subject A.  
This disclosure may be harmful if to do so would disclose personal data or
compromise an investigation. For example, if disclosure would confirm that
an individual has not been in contact with the police in relation to a
particular subject.

Scenario 2 - The MPS confirms that information is held in relation to
Subject B.
This would also be harmful if this would result in disclosing personal
data or compromise an investigation.  For example, if this would confirm
that an individual has been in contact with the police in relation to a
particular subject.  This could undermine an investigation or constitute a
breach of confidence and/or a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Scenario 3 - The MPS confirms that we do not hold information relating to
Subject A and then neither confirms nor denies that information is held
relating to Subject B.
This would clearly indicate or infer that the MPS holds information on
Subject B regardless of whether that is actually the case.  This scenario
highlights additional harm that may be caused by confirming that no
information is held in relation to Subject A and the potential for
information to be disclosed or inferred via a process of elimination.

Section 30(3) - Investigations and proceedings conducted by public
authorities - Neither Confirm nor Deny

Section 30(3) is applicable to the information requested.  This because if
the information requested were held, it may fall within the scope of
section 30(1)(a).  Section 30(1)(a) is applicable to information that is
or has been held at any time for the for the purposes of any investigation
that the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being
ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether
a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.

The Information Commissioner’s guidance titled ‘Exemption for
investigations and proceedings’ states:

‘The phrase “at any time”… means that information is exempt under section
30(1) if it relates to an ongoing, closed or abandoned investigation. It
extends to information that has been obtained prior to an investigation
commencing, if it is subsequently used for this purpose.’

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...

In this instance, a statement confirming or denying whether information is
held in relation to any part of your request may prejudice an ongoing
investigation being conducted by the MPS Directorate of Professional
Standards Anti-Corruption Unit.

Section 30(3) is a class-based and qualified exemption.  Therefore, I am
not required to evidence the harm in disclosure.  However, I am required
to consider the public interest in relation to the duty to confirm or
deny.

Public Interest Test – Section 30(3)

Factors Favouring Confirmation or Denial

The police service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and
detecting crime and protecting communities they serve and as such there is
a public interest in the transparency of policing such investigations and
ensuring accountability in relation to the spending of public funds by
providing information in relation to investigations upon request.  This
may also enable the public to be satisfied that the investigations are
being conducted properly.

Confirming or denying whether the information requested is held may
provide an indication of any action taken and whether any efforts have
been made to ensure that perpetrators of any alleged crimes are brought to
justice.  This may enable the public to be satisfied that crime is being
investigated thoroughly and effectively. This may also increase public
confidence and trust in the MPS and how it investigates crime.

Factors Against Confirmation or Denial

Confirming or denying the scope of enquiries or the status of various
aspects of an investigation, may disrupt the investigative process and
impair the prevention and detection of crime and/or the apprehension and
prosecution of offenders.

The public interest inherent in maintaining the exemption is preserving
the ability of public authorities to carry out any investigation to which
the information relates and to decide whether proceedings are necessary.
It also protects the investigative process in so far as disclosure would
result in a detriment to future investigations.

Balancing Test

Upon weighing up the competing interests, I find that the strongest reason
favouring disclosure is to enhance transparency and accountability in
relation to police actions and investigations. The strongest reason
favouring non-disclosure is the consideration of ensuring the MPS do not
impair the prevention and detection of crime and/or the apprehension and
prosecution of offenders.

Purpose of the exemption (section 30)

The Information Commissioner’s guidance titled ‘Exemption for
investigations and proceedings’ states the following:

‘There is general recognition that it is in the public interest to
safeguard the investigatory process. The right of access should not
undermine the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters nor
dissuade individuals from coming forward to report wrongdoing.
It is also not in the public interest to undermine the prosecution process
and the role of the criminal courts as the bodies responsible for
determining guilt. Where it is quite clear that disclosure could prejudice
the right to a fair trial, it would not be in the public interest to
release it.’

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...

This ICO guidance also refers to an Information Tribunal decision in the
case of Mr A Digby-Cameron v the Information Commissioner (EA/2008/0023
&0025; 26 January 2009) that stated that the general public interest
served by section 30 was:

‘the effective investigation and prosecution of crime, which itself
requires in particular
(a) the protection of witnesses and informers to ensure that people are
not deterred from making statements or reports by the fear that they may
be publicised,
(b) the maintenance of the independence of the judicial and prosecution
processes and
(c) the preservation of the criminal court as the sole forum for
determining guilt.’

Another Information Tribunal decision referred to within the ICO guidance
is the case of Guardian Newspapers Ltd v Information Commissioner and the
Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police (EA/2006/0017; 5 March 2007).
 In this case the decisive factor was:
‘the interest in principle, recognised by the exemption applying to
s30(1), in protecting information acquired, often in confidence, in police
investigations’

The ICO guidance and Information Tribunal decisions cited above clearly
indicate that the public interest inherent in section 30 includes
safeguarding the investigatory process, maintaining the independence of
the judicial and prosecution processes and protecting information acquired
in police investigations.  

Information released under the Freedom of Information Act is considered to
be a disclosure to the world at large.  Confirming or denying whether
information is held in relation to an investigation may enable offenders
to evade detection by indicating whether a police investigation had taken
place and/or by indicating the extent of enquiries made in relation to an
investigation.  This is illustrated by the examples provided under the
‘Duty to Confirm or Deny’ heading above.

Information in the public domain

Where information is already in the public domain, it may not be
appropriate to refuse to confirm or deny whether information is held.  In
this instance, there has been substantial media speculation in relation to
Operation Weeting, the investigation set up to deal with issues arising
from allegations of phone hacking.

Since the date of your initial request, the MPS have released statements
confirming that the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards are
currently investigating leaks from Operation Weeting and that a serving
MPS police officer has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a
public office relating to unauthorised disclosure of information and is
currently on bail and suspended from duty.  In addition, the MPS have
released a statement in relation to an application for a production order
made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) against the
Guardian newspaper and one of its reporters in connection with an
investigation of leaks from Operation Weeting.

The MPS have not issued a statement in relation to specific news articles
or specific individuals whose voicemails may have been intercepted by the
News of the World although this has been the subject of substantial media
speculation.

Links to the MPS statements referred to above can be found below:

Operation Weeting officer arrested (19/08/2011)
http://content.met.police.uk/News/Operat...

MPS responds to production order reporting (19/09/2011)
http://content.met.police.uk/News/MPS-re...

Update on DPS investigation into leaks from Operation Weeting (20/09/2011)
http://content.met.police.uk/News/Update...

Age of information and timing of request

The ICO guidance titled ‘Exemption for investigations and proceedings’
referred to earlier states on page 8:

‘The public interest in maintaining the exemption will be very strong
while an investigation is being carried out or, having been suspended, may
be re-opened. However, once an investigation is completed, the public
interest in understanding why an investigation reached a particular
conclusion, or in seeing that the investigation had been properly carried
out, may outweigh the public interest in maintaining the exemption.’

Operation Weeting commenced on the 26/01/2011 and is currently ongoing.
Your initial Freedom of Information Act request was received on
30/07/2011.  A serving police officer from Operation Weeting was arrested
on suspicion of misconduct in a public office relating to unauthorised
disclosure of information on 18/08/2011, 2 days after the MPS response to
your request.  The arrested officer is currently suspended, pending the
outcome of an investigation into misconduct carried out by the MPS
Directorate of Professional Standards Anti-Corruption Unit.

Therefore, if information requested were held, it could fall within the
scope of an investigation that was ongoing at the time of your request.

Significance of the information

The information requested, if held, would be significant in that it would
relate to issues that are currently the subject of significant public
interest and debate such as the relationship between the media and the
police service and what was known to police investigating allegations of
phone hacking.

The public interest favouring disclosure is significantly strengthened by
allegations of misconduct regarding the relationships between MPS police
officers and staff within elements of the media in addition to widely
perceived failings regarding the initial investigation and a subsequent
review into the original phone hacking investigation.

In this context, the information requested, if held, would be of
significance to the legitimate public interest in ensuring that the MPS
are accountable and transparent.

The information, if held, would also be significant in that it has the
potential to undermine ongoing investigations.  To confirm or deny whether
information is held may identify whether or not a particular person’s
activities have been detected and enable such individuals to ascertain or
infer the extent of any evidence that is held against them.  This may also
enable individuals to avoid detection or give them the confidence to
continue leaking sensitive information.  Due to the high profile,
sensitive and interconnected nature of MPS investigations relating to
phone hacking issues, anything that would impair the DPS Anti-Corruption
Team’s investigation in relation to information being leaked may also
adversely affect the work of future and/or related investigations such as
Operation Weeting.

Wording of the request

I have also considered the Information Commissioner’s guidance on the duty
to confirm or deny which states:

‘The wording of the request for information will affect whether or not a
public authority will confirm or deny it holds that information. In many
cases the more specific the request, the lower the likelihood of the duty
arising.’

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...

Your request appears to be focused on a specific allegation or media
article rather than investigations in general.  This may increase the harm
that would be caused by confirming or denying information is held in
relation to your request.

Your complaint dated 08/09/2011 also stated the following:

‘I am only asking for copies of information that you have already supplied
to the press - so it is hard to understand how making this information
available to me (having already done so to the press) can have any impact
on any case in progress.’

This was not clear in the wording of your original request which assumed
that:
·        what has been reported in the press is accurate
·        the only source of the information would have been the police/MPS
·        the police/MPS supplied this information directly to journalists
·        this information would be held in recorded form

These assumptions are reinforced in your complaint in which you stated
that ‘either the police have given the press an irrational account of
events or the press have fabricated such an account on their own’.

Furthermore, it is not clear which press reports you are referring to
although for the purposes of this request, I have assumed that you are
referring to a report in ‘The Guardian’ on 04/07/2011 titled ‘Missing
Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked by News of the World’ as this is the
first time that these allegations were reported.  The article does not
disclose the source(s) of the information.

Therefore, the manner in which your request was framed would have required
the MPS to make a statement confirming or denying a number of assumptions
that may or may not relate to specific information acquired during an
ongoing investigation.

Conclusion - Section 30(3)

The Metropolitan Police Service is charged with enforcing the law,
preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve.
 There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and
providing assurance that the MPS is appropriately and effectively dealing
with crime. This is particularly apparent in relation to your request to
the extent that it relates to high profile issues of national significance
regarding the relationship between the media and the police and public
confidence in the public institutions such as the police service.
 However, these factors also support the strong public interest in
safeguarding the integrity of police investigations and operations that
the MPS have a statutory duty to conduct.

The timing of the request is the decisive factor in determining where the
balance of the public interest lies.  This is significant in relation to
the age of any information that may be held and the ongoing status of the
investigation.  The timing of the request has the potential to undermine
an ongoing investigation which would not be in the public interest.
 Scenario 3 under the ‘Duty to Confirm or Deny’ heading above also
illustrates the public interest that is served by maintaining consistency
when neither confirming nor denying whether information is held.
 Therefore, although your request is in relation to a specific allegation,
the same rationale may apply to similar requests for information that may
be within the scope of an investigation if it were held.  This is because
a series of statements either confirming or denying whether information is
held may indicate the scope of an investigation or reveal other
information that would impair the investigatory process.

There are also a number of means by which the legitimate public interest
in confirming or denying whether the information requested is held can be
served. These include ongoing police investigations that may lead to
criminal proceedings, Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
investigations and a public inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson that has
been set up in response to public concerns regarding the practice of phone
hacking by news media outlets and related issues.  Included within the
remit of the Leveson Inquiry is the culture, practices, and ethics of the
press, including contacts and the relationship between the press and the
police, and the conduct of each.  It is also within the remit of the
Inquiry to make recommendations regarding the future conduct of relations
between the police and the press and for how future concerns about press
behaviour, media policy, regulation and cross-media ownership should be
dealt with by all the relevant authorities, including Parliament,
Government, the prosecuting authorities and the police.

After weighing up the competing interests, I have decided that the balance
of the public interest favours neither confirming nor denying whether the
information requested is held.  This is because the public interest at
this moment in time favours protecting information acquired in the course
of police investigations to enable space for the MPS to determine the
course of investigations that it has a duty to conduct.  However, it may
be appropriate to confirm or deny whether the information requested is
held at a later date, for example at the conclusion of any related
investigations and/or prosecutions.

Please note that the rationale presented above is in relation to the duty
to confirm whether the information requested is held by the MPS.
 Therefore, this letter neither confirms nor denies that the MPS holds the
information that you have requested.

Advice and Assistance

Although the onus is upon public authorities to seek clarification if a
request is unclear or can be read objectively in more than one way, you
may be interested in the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance
in relation to accessing official information.  This includes advice in
relation to how to word a Freedom of Information Act request and is
available on the ICO website via the link below:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/off...

Further information regarding the application and principle of the
exemption from the duty to confirm or deny whether information is held can
be found within the documents listed below:

ACPO Manual of Guidance Freedom of Information Act (2000) version 6.1
(Pages 48-51)
http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/other_...

ICO Awareness Guidance 21 - The duty to confirm or deny
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to contact the Information
Commissioner with your complaint.

Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me on 0207 161 3705 or at the address at the top of this letter,
quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Brian Wilson
FOIA Complaints Officer

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 1 (General right of access to information held by public
authorities) of the Act states:
(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, and
(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Section 17(1) (Refusal of request) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
states:

1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision of Part II relating
to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim
that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying
with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which—
(a) states that fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Section 30(3) (Investigations and proceedings conducted by public
authorities) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 states:

(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...
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).

Paul Perrin left an annotation ()

I have blogged an update to all this:-

http://free-english-people.blogspot.com/...

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