Dear West Yorkshire Police,

Please disclose the following, by way of the Freedom of Information Act:

1. On what date was the operational codename, 'Platinum', allocated to the investigation?

2. In the history of this unsolved murder, has either a HOLMES or HOLMES2 database been commissioned by any of the senior investigating officers to direct and control the investigation?

3. In the year of the murder, 1997, where was the Murder Incident Room (MIR) located?

4. In what year was the MIR de-commissioned?

5. The number of cold case reviews undertaken in connection with this unsolved murder.

6. The dates that each cold case review started and the dates that they were closed.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Freedom of Information,

Good morning,

Thank you for your request for information which has been logged today under the above reference number.

Your request will now be considered and 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.

If you no longer require the information, please inform us at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,
Ellie

Disclosure Officer
Freedom of Information Team
Information Management
Digital Policing

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

It may assist the information rights team, and the relevant business area, to know that there was a temporary, mobile incident room situated on Haywood Avenue, Marsh for approximately two weeks after the date of the murder (3rd May, 1997).

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby

Freedom of Information,

1 Attachment

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Your response due date is today however, Section 17 of the Act provides: 

(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is to any extent relying 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 the fact, 

(b) specifies the exemption in question, and 

(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies. 

 

The FOI Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly and in any case no
later than 20 working days after receiving your request. We must consider
firstly whether we can comply with s1(1)(a) of the Act, which is our duty
to confirm whether or not the information requested is held
and secondly we must comply with s1(1)(b), which is the provision of such
information. However, when a qualified exemption applies either to the
confirmation or denial or the information provision and the public
interest test is engaged, the Act allows the time for response to be
longer than 20 working days, if the balance of such public interest is
undetermined. 

 

 In this case we have not yet reached a decision on where the balance of
the public interest lies in respect of either of the above obligations. We
estimate that it will take an additional 20 working days to take a
decision on where this balance lies.

 

 The specific exemption(s) which apply in relation to your request Section
30 Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Local Authorities.

 

I would like to apologise in advance for the delay in responding to your
request. Please be assured that we will endeavour to send a response out
to you as soon as possible. 

 

Kind regards

Emily Dawson

Disclosure Officer

Information Management

Digital Policing

West Yorkshire Police, Admin 4, Laburnum Road, Wakefield WF1 3QS

Telephone: 01924 296006

 

[1]IM-Web-head

 

 

This email transmission may contain confidential or legally privileged
information and is intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the
intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, retention or
reliance upon the contents of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is
strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this in
error, please use the reply function to notify us immediately and
permanently delete the email and any attachment(s) from your computer or
electronic device. West Yorkshire Police reserves the rights to routinely
monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and cannot accept liability
or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content and, as
internet communications should not be considered as secure, for changes
made to this message after it was sent. Any views or opinions expressed in
this message may not be those of the West Yorkshire Police. This email was
scanned for viruses by the West Yorkshire Polices' anti-virus services and
on leaving the Force was found to be virus and malware free. You must take
full responsibility for any subsequent virus or malware checking.

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Dear West Yorkshire Police,

I am writing to request an internal review of West Yorkshire Police's handling of my FOI request 'Murder of Joe McCafferty'.

1. Breach of Section 10 of the Act

The Act requires a public authority to respond PROMPTLY.

Sending a response, of sorts (see below) at 4.25pm on the afternoon of the 20th working day is unlawful.

2. Breach of Section 17 of the Act

The Act requires a public authority to state clearly any exemption upon which it intends to rely in order to refuse disclosure.

There are 5 subsections and a total of 21 parts to section 30 of the Act and WYP has failed to identify the specific exemption. The response provided is, therefore, unlawful.

3. Pre-formed decision

In my highly informed and respectful submission, and taking into account complaints 1 and 2, the WYP response dated 12th November, 2021 is unethical, unprofessional and hovers dangerous close to being dishonest on the basis that any old excuse has been put forward to delay the inevitable. It is utterly inconceivable that a Tribunal judge would not, in eighteen months time, find in this applicant's favour in terms of disclosure of each and every item.

4. History repeats itself

It should be noted by the person carrying out the review that the tactics deployed by WYP in stalling this request are a near replica to the request made by the same applicant in June, 2020 (see below weblink:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...

For the benefit of WhatDoTheyKnow users and readers, and the applicant's near 10,000 followers the following extract from that request is repeated here:

"Finally, please allow me the liberty of being blunt: Those in the relevant business area(s), and involved in this disclosure request, need, in my respectful submission, to take a long hard look at themselves and question whether public service is really the appropriate vocation for them.

"Accordingly, and in order to mitigate the distress to a bereaved mother, I look forward to a prompt disposal of the internal review request and disclosure of the requested materials".

Since then, the father of the murdered 7yo boy passed away on 5th November, 2021. Dale Scandling will not see the outcome of either of these two information requests for whom, in part at least, they were formulated. More crucially, he will go to his grave on 6th December, 2021 without seeing justice for his son.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby

Web: neilwilby.com

Freedom of Information,

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your request for an internal review which has been logged today under the above reference number.

Kind regards
Emily Dawson
Disclosure Officer
Information Management
Digital Policing
West Yorkshire Police, Admin 4, Laburnum Road, Wakefield WF1 3QS
Telephone: 01924 296006

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information,

2 Attachments

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Please see the attached document in relation to your information request.

 

Kind regards

Emily Dawson

Disclosure Officer

Information Management

Digital Policing

West Yorkshire Police, Admin 4, Laburnum Road, Wakefield WF1 3QS

Telephone: 01924 296006

 

[1]IM-Web-head

 

This email transmission may contain confidential or legally privileged
information and is intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the
intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, retention or
reliance upon the contents of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is
strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this in
error, please use the reply function to notify us immediately and
permanently delete the email and any attachment(s) from your computer or
electronic device. West Yorkshire Police reserves the rights to routinely
monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and cannot accept liability
or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content and, as
internet communications should not be considered as secure, for changes
made to this message after it was sent. Any views or opinions expressed in
this message may not be those of the West Yorkshire Police. This email was
scanned for viruses by the West Yorkshire Polices' anti-virus services and
on leaving the Force was found to be virus and malware free. You must take
full responsibility for any subsequent virus or malware checking.

References

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Dear West Yorkshire Police (WYP),
I am writing to request an internal review of West Yorkshire Police's handling of my FOI request 'Murder of Joe McCafferty'.

For simplicity and continuity the same numbering as in the information request, and its finalisation by WYP, is used:

1. Disclosure accepted as correct. Thank you.

2. Disclosure challenged as untrue: A senior WYP officer involved in this murder investigation is emphatic, in several conversations with the bereaved mother, Tracey McCafferty, that neither HOLMES nor HOLMES2 was deployed in this investigation, up to and including 2016. I am further informed that the IOPC confirmed this information verbally. Given all that has gone before that date, and since, it would seem, using the balance of probabilities as the appropriate test, unlikely that such a system would have been used subsequently. If this matter proceeds all the way to an Information Rights Tribunal, as seems likely, then you would, of course, be required to provide evidence to a judge, in a closed bundle, that your disclosure is true.

3. Disclosure challenged as opaque and/or incomplete: It is well known to Ms McCafferty and the bereaved family that there was an incident room situated in a mobile facility on Haywood Avenue close to the scene of the murder. It remained there for between two and three weeks. You are, therefore, required to clarify whether there were, in fact, two murder incident rooms during that period, or just the one.

4. Disclosure challenged as untrue: It is well known to the family that the investigation began to run down in mid/late June, 1997 - less than two months after the murder - and a closing report prepared for the Coroner by A/DI Sam Cooke. The inquest touching the death of Joe McCafferty was held on 2nd July, 1997 (without Tracey McCafferty being notified or given the opportunity to attend). Unequivocal written evidence is in the possession of the family that the murder was filed by WYP as unsolved by early August, 1997. Subsequent to that date, Ms McCafferty visited Huddersfield Police Station on a number of occasions to provide information and/or local intelligence to detectives. She was always told that the files were in storage and, regrettably, given the impression that it would be much too much trouble for officers to retrieve them. The proposition that a murder incident room would be maintained for over 24 years at that police station is, putting it bluntly, preposterous. Not least, that in 2006 the bereaved family are told, the case was transferred out of Kirklees CID to the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, who are based elsewhere. Similarly, the proposition that a Joe McCafferty Murder Incident Room is maintained at any of the HMET facilities is, with all due respect, similarly absurd. It will, most certainly, not sustain at Information Rights Tribunal. Moreover, this WYP finalisation has, understandably, caused considerable distress to the bereaved family and it is respectfully submitted, that the causing of such distress is calculated and deliberate on the part of the WYP officers providing the response. It very much fits the pattern of previous behaviour of certain senior officers involved in this ill-starred investigation.

5. Disclosure challenged as untrue: The bereaved family have unequivocal written information from WYP that there have been just two cold case reviews. They know the dates of those two investigations, the officers who undertook them and the lines of enquiry they followed, also.

6. Disclosure refusal challenged as unlawful. There is simply no way that an Information Rights Tribunal would uphold section 30 (1) (a) (b) (c) as a valid exemption when the information sought is dates of cold case reviews starting and ending. The Panel would, also, very likely be aghast at the clumsily contrived public interest test, as the bereaved family quite rightly was. Not to say deeply upset at the totality of the questions and answers to points 5 and 6. It is, most respectfully, submitted that the absurd reliance on this exemption is to disguise the fact that there have been, in fact, only two cold case reviews, not four as stated in the finalisation.

Finally, given that dishonesty and discreditable conduct is not just alleged, but can be proven beyond any doubt by simply comparing WYP-headed documents, that the force self-refers these matters to the IOPC for independent investigation of the officers responsible. Corruption, at a senior officer level, within the inner circle of those investigating the murder of a 7yo boy, or the failures surrounding it, comfortably meets the threshold. That should, also, be taken against the background that one former senior investigating officer (SIO) on the Joe McCafferty case was jailed for corruption in 2019 and in circumstances less concerning than these.

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

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby

Web: neilwilby.com

Freedom of Information,

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your request for an internal review which has been logged with our office today. A response will be sent to yourself in 20 working days as stipulated in the Act.

Kind regards
Emily Dawson
Disclosure Officer
Information Management
Digital Policing
West Yorkshire Police, Admin 4, Laburnum Road, Wakefield WF1 3QS
Telephone: 01924 296006

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for the prompt acknowledgement of the internal review request. I'm grateful, as are the bereaved family concerned with the information access request.

On a point of precision, and given that this request is likely to be scrutinised very many times in the future, may I respectfully correct your reply in the light of that?

There is no statutory provision in the Act for a public authority to respond to an internal review within 20 working days or any any stipulated period.

Section 45 is clear on this, as is the Information Commissioner's Guidance on the topic, and you are referred to the relevant Code of Practice below:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

In fairness, my experience is that unlike many other p[olice forces, WYP do try to adhere to what is a voluntary code, or best practice guidance.

Conversely, the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP) is rather more strict and your attention is drawn to section 2.7.1 of those requirements at the below weblink. Many other police forces I deal with appear oblivious to the existence of APP, or do not feel bound in any way by it:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-co...

I hope you find this helpful and WYP can draw learning from it.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby

Freedom of Information,

2 Attachments

 

 

Good Afternoon,

 

Please see the attached document in relation to your request an Internal
Review of FOI 910888/21

 

Kind Regards,

 

Alix Whitfield-Jones

Disclosure Officer

Freedom of Information

Information Management

Digital Policing

 

*   Email:  [1][email address]
(    Work Telephone: 01924 296006
+   Address: West Yorkshire Police, Information Management, PO Box 9,
Laburnum Road, Wakefield.  WF1 3QP

 

[2]IM-Web-head

 

 

 

This email transmission may contain confidential or legally privileged
information and is intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the
intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, retention or
reliance upon the contents of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is
strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this in
error, please use the reply function to notify us immediately and
permanently delete the email and any attachment(s) from your computer or
electronic device. West Yorkshire Police reserves the rights to routinely
monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and cannot accept liability
or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content and, as
internet communications should not be considered as secure, for changes
made to this message after it was sent. Any views or opinions expressed in
this message may not be those of the West Yorkshire Police. This email was
scanned for viruses by the West Yorkshire Polices' anti-virus services and
on leaving the Force was found to be virus and malware free. You must take
full responsibility for any subsequent virus or malware checking.

References

Visible links
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