National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre

Jason Sands made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

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 partially successful.

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

1. What is the function of the National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre, and how does it relate to National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit?

2. What is the command, accountability and organisational structure of the NCTPOC?

3. When was the NCTPOC formed?

4. If it is a replacement / rebranding of the NDEDIU, how does the new body follow HMIC's 2012 recommendations to adequately separate the/any public order function from domestic extremism?

Yours faithfully,

Jason Sands

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Sands

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2016050000020

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/04/2016.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

* 1. What is the function of the National Counter Terrorism Police
Operations Centre, and how does it relate to National Domestic
Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit? 2. What is the command,
accountability and organisational structure of the NCTPOC? 3. When was
the NCTPOC formed? 4. If it is a replacement / rebranding of the
NDEDIU, how does the new body follow HMIC's 2012 recommendations to
adequately separate the/any public order function from domestic
extremism?

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.  

If you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please contact
us at [email address] or on the phone at 0207 161 3500, quoting the
reference number above. Should your enquiry relate to the logging or
allocations process we will be able to assist you directly and where your
enquiry relates to other matters (such as the status of the request) we
will be able to pass on a message and/or advise you of the relevant
contact details.

Yours sincerely

Peter Deja
Support Officer - Freedom of Information Triage Team
 
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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113

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.

 

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the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
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email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
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any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
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this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

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Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr/Ms Sands

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2016050000020

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/04/2016.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

* 1. What is the function of the National Counter Terrorism Police
Operations Centre, and how does it relate to National Domestic
Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit? 2. What is the command,
accountability and organisational structure of the NCTPOC? 3. When was
the NCTPOC formed? 4. If it is a replacement / rebranding of the
NDEDIU, how does the new body follow HMIC's 2012 recommendations to
adequately separate the/any public order function from domestic
extremism?

I am sorry to inform you that we have not been able to complete our
response to your request by the date originally stated.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), we have 20 working
days to respond to a request for information unless we are considering
whether the information requested is covered by one of the 'qualified
exemptions' (exemptions which must be tested against the public interest
before deciding whether they apply to the information in question).

Where we are considering the public interest test against the application
of relevant qualified exemptions, Section 17(2)(b) provides that we can
extend the 20 day deadline.  Please see the legal annex for further
information on this section of the Act.

For your information we are considering the following exemption

Section 31 Law Enforcement

I can now advise you that the amended date for a response is 24/6/2016

May I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me  or via email at [email address], quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Karen Fox
Information Manager

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 17(2) provides:

(2) Where-

a) in relation to any request for information, a public authority is, as
respects any information, relying on a claim-
i) that any provision of Part II which relates to the duty to confirm or
deny and is not specified in section 2(3) is relevant to the request, or
ii) that the information is exempt information only by virtue of a
provision not specified in section 2(3), and
b) at the time when the notice under subsection (1) is given to the
applicant, the public authority (or, in a case falling within section
66(3) or (4), the responsible authority) has not yet reached a decision as
to the application of subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) of section 2,
the notice under subsection (1) must indicate that no decision as to the
application of that provision has yet been reached and must contain an
estimate of the date by which the authority expects that such a decision
will have been reached.

 
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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113

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 Sands

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2016050000020

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/04/2016.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

1. What is the function of the National Counter Terrorism Police
Operations Centre, and how does it relate to National Domestic Extremism
and Disorder Intelligence Unit?

2. What is the command, accountability and organisational structure of the
NCTPOC?

3. When was the NCTPOC formed?

4. If it is a replacement / rebranding of the NDEDIU, how does the new
body follow HMIC's 2012 recommendations to adequately separate the/any
public order function from domestic extremism?
 

SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
at National Counter Terrorism policing HQ.  The searches located
information relevant to your request.

DECISION

I have today decided to fully disclose information relevant to Questions
1, 3 and 4 and partially disclose information relating to question 2.
 Some information has been withheld as it is exempt from disclosure and
therefore this response serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).  Please see the legal annex for
further information on the exemptions applied in respect of your request.

REASONS FOR DECISION

With regards to your request for the NCTPOC’s organisational structure, to
provide this information could be used to undermine the MPS’s operational
capability and therefore the following exemptions apply:

Section 24(1) - National Security
Section 31(1)(a)(b) - Law Enforcement

DISCLOSURE

In relation to questions 1, 3 and 4

NCTPOC’s role is to coordinate  and deliver a flexible and efficient
National Counter Terrorism (CT) and Domestic Extremism (DE) policing
response by identifying and managing threat, risk and harm.

NCTPOC will:

§        Set the priorities of the National CT and DE network by managing
strategic risks; support the CT and DE network by managing strategic
intelligence and coordinating the operational response;
§        Reduce, and where possible, remove the threat of crime,
criminality and public disorder that arises from Terrorism and Domestic
Extremism that affects the UK or UK interests abroad.
§        Protect the UK from terrorism and domestic extremism, and make
the UK the safest country in the world.

The NCTPOC officially came into being in April 2016.

 NCTPOC are fully aware of the HMIC 2012 recommendations and remain
compliant.
 

In relation to question 2

The NCTPOC comes under the lead force model. The MPS are the lead force,
whereby we are charged with the provision or development of particular
service areas with a view to maximising both effectiveness and cost
reductions.

The Senior National Coordinator, Helen Ball, is head of NCTPOC and Alan
Barr is the Deputy Senior National Coordinator.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me on via email at [email address], quoting
the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

C. Gayle-Petrou
Information Manager

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 17(1) 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 any provision in
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 the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

Section 24 - National security

(1) Information which does not fall within section 23(1) is exempt
information, if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose
of safeguarding national security.

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

This is a qualified exemption for which I am required to conduct a public
interest test and provide evidence of harm.

Evidence of Harm

In the current environment of an increased threat of terrorist activity,
providing any details that could assist an extremist faction would
undermine the safeguarding of national security.

ICO guidance emphasises there is no definition of national security and
refers to the Information Tribunal (EA/2006/0045) who summarised:-

·        “National security” means the security of the United Kingdom and
its people;
 
·        The interests of national security are not limited to actions by
an individual which are targeted at the UK, its system of government or
its people;

·        The protection of democracy and the legal and constitutional
systems of the state are part of national security as well as military
defence;

·        Action against a foreign state may be capable indirectly of
affecting the security of the UK;

·        Reciprocal co-operation between the UK and other states in
combating international terrorism is capable of promoting the United
Kingdom’s national security.

The ICO guidance also states ‘safeguarding national security also includes
protecting potential targets even if there is no evidence that an attack
is imminent…the Commissioner also recognises terrorists can be highly
motivated and may go to great lengths to gather intelligence.  This means
there may be grounds for withholding what seems harmless information on
the basis that it may assist terrorists when pieced together with other
information they may obtain.’

Disclosure of the organisational structure could have a detrimental effect
on policing resources. Policing resources and our ability to protect
national security would be negatively effected, should the disclosed
information be manipulated by those with the capability and know-how to
map operational resources. For example, disclosure may lead to a
compromise of investigations. This rationale is valid for this exemption,
as such an occurrence would harm national security.

Public Interest Test

Considerations favouring disclosure for S24 - The information simply
relates to national security and disclosure would not actually harm it.
The public are entitled to know how what measures are in place in
safeguarding national security.  

Disclosing the information would allow individuals to contribute to more
accurate public debate on matters that are of public relevance - in this
case information pertinent to the gathering of intelligence and the use of
public funds.

Considerations favouring non-disclosure for S24 - By supplying any
policing arrangements of this nature would render security measures less
effective. In order to safeguard national security, there is a need for
the MPS to protect information held as to release it would compromise
ongoing or future operations and investigations which are designed to
protect the security or infra-structure of the UK, thereby increasing the
risk of harm to the public.  

Disclosure would have a negative impact on an efficient and effective
conduct of the MPS.  There remains the possibility that the current or
future law enforcement role of the MPS may be compromised by the release
of the information. To compromise the role and functions of the service
through disclosure would have a knock on effect on national security and
its arrangements.

There are significant risks associated in providing the organisational
structure of the NCTPOC.  To release the requested information into the
public domain under the Freedom of Information Act is likely to have a
detrimental effect on policing resources, particularly in the sensitive
area of national security. Policing resources would be negatively effected
should those with intent try to map and obtain an operational advantage
over MPS resources allocated for national security purposes, and
manipulate the disclosed information. Any disclosure would highlights the
make up of the NCTPOC, would allow criminals to determine the areas of
interest to the police and the specific type of intelligence that they
seek to obtain.

Section 31 - Law enforcement

(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is
exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be
likely to, prejudice—

(a) the prevention or detection of crime,
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

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

This is a qualified exemption for which I am required to conduct a public
interest test and provide evidence of harm.

Evidence of Harm

In considering whether or not the MPS should release the information
requested I have considered the potential harm that could be caused by
such a disclosure.

A Freedom of Information Act request is not a private transaction.  Both
the request itself, and any information disclosed, are considered suitable
for open publication. This is because, under the Act, any information
disclosed is released into the wider public domain, effectively to the
world, not just to an individual.   Whilst not questioning the motives of
the applicant by providing the information requested could allow those who
seek to cause harm to members of the public to gain an understanding of
the capabilities of Policing unit so that potential vulnerabilities can be
more easily identified.  

Disclosing the organisational chart could be used by those with the time
and inclination, to try and work out how resources are allocated within
the NCTPOC.  Any unit which has several managerial levels could be deemed
to be large in size, as opposed to a unit with just one manager.  Those
with a criminal intent could then try to use this information (in
conjunction with any other information already in the public domain) to
gain an insight into policing numbers allocated to a specific area of
interest.  This may provide those seeking to commit criminal acts with an
advantage over the MPS and other forces, as the information can indeed be
viewed as operational ‘intelligence’ and operationally sensitive.
 Disclosure could have a negative effect on our ability to provide the
necessary service required, should the release of information be used and
manipulated by those with criminal intent.

Disclosure of this information could have a detrimental effect on policing
resources. Policing resources would be negatively effected should the
disclosed information be manipulated. Such an occurrence would require the
allocation of additional policing resources to counter the disclosure of
intelligence provided through a FOI disclosure.

The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored.  It should be recognised that
the international security landscape is increasingly complex and
unpredictable.  The UK faces a sustained threat from violent terrorists
and extremists.  Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat
level, as set by the security service (MI5) based upon current
intelligence and that threat has remained at the second highest level,
‘severe’, except for two short periods during August 2006 and June and
July 2007, when it was raised to the highest threat, ‘critical’, and in
July 2009, when it was reduced to ‘substantial’. The current threat level
to the UK is ‘severe’.        The Home Office website explains that ‘this
means that a terrorist attack is highly likely’.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-ter...

In consideration of the ramifications of this threat level, it would not
be wise to disclose organisational and thus perceived resource details,
which may enable criminals to use this information to cause a detrimental
effect on the operational effectiveness of the MPS.

Public Interest Test

Considerations favouring disclosure for S31 - Where public funds are being
spent, there is a public interest in accountability and justifying the use
of public money. There is also a public interest in the transparency of
policing operations.  Disclosure of this information could be a useful
deterrent to those with a criminal intent, as the abilities and
capabilities of the MPS who are charged with enforcing the law by
preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve
will be apparent.  

Better awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the
public.

Considerations Favouring Non-disclosure for S31 - There remains the
possibility that the current or future law enforcement role of the NCTPOC
and MPS will be compromised by the release of the information requested.
It can be argued that there are significant risks associated with
providing information in relation to the organisational structure of this
unit, since they may reveal the relative vulnerability of what we may be
trying to protect.

To release the requested information into the public domain under the
Freedom of Information Act is likely to have a detrimental effect on
policing resources. Policing resources and our investigative role would be
negatively effected, should the information be used and manipulated by
those with criminal intent to obtain an advantage over MPS resources
allocated for these purposes.  Disclosure could hinder the prevention and
detection of crime.

Balance Test

The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police
service will not divulge information if to do so would place the safety of
the public or an individual at risk or undermine law enforcement and
therefore compromise the work of the Police Service.  Whilst there is a
public interest in the transparency of policing operations and in this
case providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and
effectively engaging with the threat posed by a terrorist attack or
extremism, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding the
integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly sensitive
area of terrorism and extremism.  

As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is
appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be
overridden in exceptional circumstances. The organisational structure of
the NCTPOC is a sensitive issue of intelligence value to terrorists and
extremists, because as previously advised the Centre’s function is to set
the priorities of the National CT and DE network by managing strategic
risks; support the CT and DE network by managing strategic intelligence
and coordinating the operational response and to disclose how this done
within the Centre would have a detrimental effect on the operational
effectiveness of both the unit and the MPS.  Therefore it is our opinion
that for these issues the balancing test for disclosure is not made out.

I have based this decision on the understanding that the public interest
is not what interests the public but what would be of greater good to the
community as a whole, if disclosed. It can never be in the public interest
to disclose information that may compromise our ability to fulfill our
core functions of law enforcement or the safeguarding national security.

In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the
Metropolitan Police Service will not breach the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the
enclosed information will continue to be protected by law.  Applications
for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of the
attached information should be addressed to MPS Directorate of Legal
Services, 10 Lambs Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NR.
 
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
Information Rights Unit
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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113

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

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