Modern Slavery incidents

M Esslemont made this Freedom of Information request to Hertfordshire Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Hertfordshire Constabulary,

As part of ongoing data sharing protocols, incidents stored either on a log or the Force Crime System (FCS) relating to slavery and human trafficking are shared with the Home Office for reporting purposes.

Please provide the number of incident reports logged by your constabulary under the following opening codes between the periods of 1 June 2019 and September 31 2019.

N200/01 - NRM referral pending reasonable grounds decision
N200/02 – NRM referral negative reasonable grounds decision
N200/03 – NRM referral - Duty to notify only
N200/04 – NRM referral – Positive reasonable Grounds/Police Referral – Outside England and Wales
N200/05 – NRM referral – Negative reasonable Grounds – Outside England/Wales
N200/06 –NRM referral – transferred to another force in England and Wales

Please note that logged incidents should not be omitted on the basis of their eventual recording status. This request is for incident reports that fit the above criteria, which may or may not eventually be recorded.

Kind regards,
M Esslemont on behalf of FOI Team, Hertfordshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear M Esslemont,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 14th

Yours sincerely,
James Hodson

Dear Hertfordshire Constabulary,

I am writing in order to both request an internal review and make a clarification. The original request 'Modern Slavery incidents' (FOI2019/06577) is asking for figures disaggregated by each opening code rather than one blanket figure - if this is a separate request to the one being considered, please answer in your internal review accordingly or as part of a separate request depending on which is easier (and do get in touch if there are any other points of clarification you need).

My internal review request is being made on the basis that a FOIA 2000 section 23 and section 23(1) exemption has been incorrectly applied. Therefore, I am raising this matter internally with the view of escalating with the Information Commissioner's Office should I not receive the data requested.

- Security exemption -
Whilst the Act does provide exemptions on data provision which "directly" or "indirectly" reference a named security body within the Act, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), the original request (FOI FOI2019/06577) petitions for information which is no longer provided as part of data-sharing protocols with the NCA as a Competent Authority (CA). As you know, as of 2019 the Home Office subsumed all the functions of other CAs (including the NCA) as one new 'Single Competent Authority'. The original Freedom of Information request falls significantly outside of the cessation of the NCA's involvement in NRM decision-making which is now solely managed by the Home Office. The Act does not list the Home Office as a named "security body" which, therefore, invalidates your rejection on the grounds of Section 23(1).

- Precedent -
Forms of this data are already in the public domain. National Referral Mechanism referrals and MS1 forms, or 'duties to notify', are outlined in HM Government's annual Modern Slavery Report released on 18th October in three consecutive years. Furthermore, two constabularies (City of London and Bedfordshire) have already provided the report logs requested. The disclosure of identical information by a similar policing body, along with Government and Home Office's willingness to provide similar data on referrals, further discredits your claim that the requested data has any security implications under Section 23 in its entirety, let alone 23(1) specifically.

- Public interest test -
In light of the irrelevant application of Section 23(1) in the rejection of FOI2019/06577, a public interest test therefore applies to this request. The data requested does not pertain to any sensitive information with security implications or information relating to the crime itself. The data references opening codes listed in the Home Office Counting Rules which pertain only to referrals to support for victims. To deny the clear public interest in victims' recourse to both justice and crime-specific aftercare as a result of crime reporting is to ignore the significant attention media outlets, the public, and policy makers pay to data integrity matters. The simple information requested by myself in the first instance is clearly capable of passing a public interest test.

For these reasons outlined, I wish for this case to be reconsidered as part of an internal review, and will revoke my corresponding complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office upon a satisfactory response.

Yours faithfully,
M Esslemont on behalf of FOI Team, Hertfordshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear M Esslemont,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 13th

Yours sincerely,
Gary Maxey