Northern Constabulary involvement in Information Operations

The request was refused by Northern Constabulary.

Dear Northern Constabulary,

Can you please tell me whether Northern Constabulary has any formal/informal connection to or involvement in Information Operations?

Can you tell me how many staff employed by Northern Constabulary have had training to be involved in Information Operations?

Can you tell me how many Information Operations Northern Constabulary is involved in, and whether they all take place within the Highlands and Islands (if not please provide breakdown)?

All for date of writing.

Yours faithfully,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: RESTRICTED

Good Afternoon Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your request for information.

Can you please provide clarification as to what you mean by 'Information Operations' to enable us to research your request.

Your request is now on hold until we receive clarification. The 20 days statutory time scale will restart once we receive your information.

Best Regards

Annalise McKay
Information Support Officer
Crime Administration
Force Information Management Unit
Northern Constabulary
( 01463 720555
+ Fax:01463 720510

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Dear Ms Mckay,

If there is some doubt over which type of operations I am referring to in terms of classification; it would be best that you explicitly state the types of operation which Northern Constabulary are involved in, from which I can then identify.

By going into specific aspects of what Information Operations are and what they entail; I run the risk of ruling out the information sought because the definition may have evolved or your understanding of it may be in some way different to mine.

I recommend consultation with your seniors and some research on the subject. Their are numerous parties who train police on Info Ops and a key related body would be Targeting and Information Operations (TIO) based at Whitehall in London.(http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Targ...)

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

Could you also tell me why the response you sent was categorised as 'Restricted' within the Government Protective Marking System when it seems you were only looking for guidance as to what I was talking about? (your previous page+ of FOI requests were all labelled 'Not Protectively Marked')

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to your request for information made under the Freedom of Information Scotland) Act 2002.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

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Dear Ms Sherriff,

Thank you for your response dated today.

In it you state:
-----
(QUOTE)
We did indeed do some research and I, as Freedom of Information Officer, spoke to various senior officers in Northern Constabulary to see if they would be able to assist. These officers note:

“The applicant is entirely vague in his request and unless he can be specific in what he asks then the
question cannot be looked at accurately and assessed properly as to what the answer may be and indeed if it would be information that could be shared.”
-----

I tried to explain in the last letter the reasons as to why I couldn't be too specific about what I was asking for. I don't think you have made proper attempt to understand this or deal with this request appropriately.

Information Operations are a type of operation in their own regard, in the same way that a dog is a type of animal. If I wrote to an animal welfare charity looking to find out how many they had rehoused in a year, I would be surprised if I got a response wanting me to specify a subset like German Shepherd. I would say that the assertion that my request is “entirely vague” appears to me in this context as wilful ignorance.

Later you write:

-----
(QUOTE)
“I am also advised that the term ‘Information Operations’ is not one that is used in Scotland.”
-----

If, as you seem to imply, Information Operations have a different title in Scotland; then surely it would be common sense to tell me what the appropriate term is? The nature of that comment is befitting of a computer alert, not a morally scrupulous organisation who has honesty and public service at it's heart.

The fact that your letter seems to indicate the extent of your research consisted of speaking to some officers who gave you such a response serves to underline the fact that the lack of respect for my request extends to your department. You make no reference to the external link provided or any research done on your part into that. I would like to be of further assistance in this regard. Please find below a link to Joint Warfare Publication 3-80 entitled Information Operations:

ics-www.leeds.ac.uk/papers/pmt/exhibits/2270/jwp3_80.pdf

I was reluctant to include this initially for the reasons mentioned-it being about a decade old. However it should give you a strong indication of the type of operation assuming that you don't know already.

Finally I would say that while I believe the stance of your response to be an evasive one for the 1st and 3rd of my questions. I am certain that question 2 has been evaded. There is a very specific answer to how many staff at Northern Constabulary have had training to be involved in Information Operations, just as there are specific courses for police titled Information Operations at different locations. For example:

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/students/cour...

I would like to give you an opportunity to research the information posed and reconsider your response. I would like to set a deadline of 22nd November.

Yours,

Donnie Mackenzie

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to your request to revisit our reply Reference 4663/12.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Northern Constabulary,

I am writing to request an internal review of Northern Constabulary's handling of my FOI request 'Northern Constabulary involvement in Information Operations'.

The reasons for my complaint are as follows:

You haven't specifically stated how many staff at Northern Constabulary have qualifications enabling them to take part in Information Operations, despite me giving clear example that such courses exist and are provided to police.

You have indicated knowledge that the term 'Information Operations' is not used in Scotland, which implies that this type of operations are conducted under a different title.

Following your last response I provided more detailed and specific information about the nature of Information Operations and what they entail within a further link; yet you have communicated as if this didn't happen or you intentionally missed it.

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

Sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Your request for an Internal Review has been received. It will be conducted by a person(s) not involved in the original decision making process. The results of that Internal Review will be communicated to you no later than 20/12/2012.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear mbx-foi,

Thanks for your response re: the Internal Review.

I would also like you to open a separate new request which answers the following:

Is Northern Constabulary involved in any operations which include the use of Psychological Warfare? If so, could you please provide the number of operations and what police area they are located in.

Is Northern Constabulary involved in any operations which include the use of Electronic Warfare? If so, could you please provide the number of operations and what police area they are located in.

Please also provide the total number of targets (human) within these types of operations.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Sherriff, Pamela,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,
 
The attached letter is in response to your request for an Internal Review
of the reply to your request for information made originally on 15th
October 2012.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: [1]www.northern.police.uk
 
 
 

 

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED by User: Sherriff, Pamela

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1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to your request for information made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear mbx-foi,

Thanks for your response. I would like to add the folowing new request for information:

Please could you tell me if Northern Constabulary is involved in any joint agency operations which include surveillance?

If so, could you please specify how many operations and how many staff were committed to these for the date of my original request at the top?

Could you also please specify the total number of people who were the target of these operations for the same date?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

I wonder if you could assist us with your definition of Joint Agency Operations.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Sherriff,

I am not sure. What do you not understand?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Dear mbx-foi,

I would like to request that the response sent to me on 3rd of January be referred for internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr. Mackenzie,

Your request for an Internal Review has been received and will be conducted by an individual who was not involved in the original decision making process. This review is in relation to your request re Psychological or Electronic Warfare to which we gave the reference 548/2012. Your request on Joint Agency Operations will be considered separately and has the reference 04/2013.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear mbx-foi,

I would like to open another request. Could you tell me how many surveillance operations Northern Constabulary is involved where the target or targets of the surveillance have not been charged with anything and they have been under surveillance for:

A-More than 1 year,
B-More than 2 years,
C-More than 4 years,
D-More than 8 years,
E-More than 11 years?

I would note that the wording above does not explicitly state that Northern Constabulary be involved in the operation throughout the entire period, only in some capacity at present.

Could you also tell me for any results, how many of these people have no criminal record?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

All for date of writing.

Elliott, Gordon,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: PROTECT - INVESTIGATIONS

Dear Sir,
 
Please find attached the reply to your request for a review of the
information you requested on the 4th Dec 2012.
 
Gordon Elliott
FIMU
01463 720555
 

GPMS Classification: PROTECT - INVESTIGATIONS by User: Elliott, Gordon on:
16 January 2013 at: 09:45:20

This email and any files transmitted with it is private and intended
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Dear Northern Constabulary,

I note that my request sent on 13th January did not recieve a confirmation of reciept. Can you confirm this was an administrative error and that you have recieved it? I also added an annotation underneath it for guidance.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie

Thank you for your request for information under Freedom of Information legislation dated 13/01/2013. We hereby confirm receipt as requested.

Kind Regards

Atholl Davidson

Information Support Officer
Force Information Management Unit

show quoted sections

Sherriff, Pamela,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to your request for information made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Sheriff,

Thanks for your response to my request. In it you detailed my questions which pertained only to joint agency operations which involve surveillance.

You acknowledged that Northern Constabulary is involved in investigations with other organisations.

You claimed that the only way for you to establish whether there are joint agency operations which include surveillance for the one date would be to search through every recorded incident of crime over 5 years.

I feel strongly that this is unlikely to be the case. As a first step toward getting the information it would be appropriate for you to simply e-mail or speak to any departments who are involved in such activities, or record/hold relevant information.

Information which might help may include but will not be limited to- operational activity sheets, records, reports, staff deployment records or activity logs, records of meetings with other agencies, records of negotiations with other agencies, records of agreements with other agencies and various accounting records of operational expenditure.

As such I would like to request an internal review into this response.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Sherriff, Pamela,

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

I hereby acknowledge your request for an Internal Review. This will be conducted by an individual who was not involved in the original decision making process. The results will be made known to you on or before 04/03/2013

Yours sincerely,,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to your request for information, below, made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Yours sincerely.

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

show quoted sections

Your Ref:548/2012

Dear Ms Sherriff,

Thanks for your response dated 8th February. I will try and respond to it shortly.

This communication relates to my request which I made on 4th December which asked for any information held on the use of Psychological Warfare or Electronic Warfare within operations.

The response you sent on 3rd of January stated:

QUOTE
-----
Northern Constabulary is not involved in any operations which include the use of Psychological
Warfare.

Northern Constabulary is not involved in any operations which include the use of Electronic Warfare.

Therefore in respect of the further detail you have requested, under Section 17 of the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 I must inform you that this information is not held.
-----

I made a request for an Internal Review on the 7th of January.

The response provided to that on 16th January restated some of the information and the scope of the review before saying that:

"There is therefore no
change to the original reply sent to you on the 3rd Jan 2013."

I was informed on friday 8th by the Scottish Information Commissioners Office that for the purposes of pursuing this with them, my request for an Internal Review was invalid.

They specified that I needed to state why I was dissatisfied with the original response. They also stated that following a phonecall with you; you said you were willing to accept a rewritten Internal Review request under the circumstances.

The reason I am dissatisfied is because I believe Northern Constabulary is likely to hold information within the scope of my request.

You have acknowledged that Northern Constabulary is involved in Joint Agency Operations.

I have reason to believe that such Joint Agency Operations are likely to include those performed with sections of the MOD who deploy Psychological Warfare and Electronic Warfare almost as a matter of routine.

Where the MOD deploys operations, it states in it's own documentation that it engages and uses all local tools and personnel it can in what is commonly referred to as "soft ops".

These operations are supported by a wealth of expertise and heavy funding. The techniques mentioned in my request are stated to be key to such operations.

I would acknowledge that Northern Constabulary is unlikely to hold much information on Electronic Warfare (since this would probably all be handled out of house).

But I do believe that where there are staff involved in or connected with such activities, there would likely be records of psychological warfare (or the specific "themes" as they are known). This would probably take the form of guidance documents, operational strategy documents, and lesser records

I hope this is suitably clear for the purposes of this revised Internal Review request. I have been fairly conditioned to the approach of the ICO in England who operate differently to the SICO, so I was not aware of this oversight previously.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Your Ref: 35/2013

Dear Ms Sherriff

Thank you for your response dated 8th February.

In your response you provided different reasons in support of a refusal of the information. I will try to group the points with my response for simplicity. I apologize if you find the length of my response objectionable. But I feel it is necessary to encompass the reasons for dissatisfaction at the decision, the public interest arguments, and the supplementary text you added. I have placed the full text at the following link since I appreciate that this website is only fitting for short responses:

(http://www.scribd.com/doc/125608047/Nort...)

INABILITY TO OBTAIN INFORMATION WITHIN COST LIMIT

In your response you quoted my requests. I should note that you did not mention the annotation below it which stated that the request was for the relevant statistics on the given date (13th January). This is relevant because I was only looking for the information on operations which were active on the specific date the request was made. I will proceed on the assumption that you understand this and that my mention of the present tense in the original request itself means that you grasp that I was not looking for statistics on inactive surveillance operations.

You stated that:
“as per previous request we would look at all investigations across now 11 years or more to determine if surveillance was part of this investigation”

If what you are saying is to be taken at face value; it is very concerning. You are stating that the only records available of active surveillance activity would be those which happen to be in the database of all reported crimes.

You are thus indicating that there would be no categorisation of such activity; no operational records, no record of staff activity or deployment, no documented organisation of units dedicated to surveillance, no records kept of such activity within such departments and no financial records which could
identify the relevant activity.

The use of staff in surveillance activity tends to be very costly in terms of time and money, and typical active operations will employ a total complement which is comfortably into double figures. We are all very familiar with the complaints from certain sections of police about the need to do so much paperwork. The need for a paper trail within public bodies tends to be very pronounced, especially where costly expenses are gathered.

You continue to provide a paragraph which moves toward the risks of providing information to criminals and indicates that responses do not differentiate between those asking for information on such a basis. But it is important to say that Freedom of Information legislation provides many exemptions which allow the releasing of only the information which relates directly to a valid request. That is to say, it is not uncommon for documentation to be released where the bulk has been redacted because it is exempt. By doing this, the organisation can thus satisfy the requester and ensures compliance with legal obligations.

OTHER POTENTIAL REASONS FOR REFUSING INFORMATION

Following your indication of a refusal on the grounds of excessive cost, you continue to further arguments against providing the information in the event that it was retrievable within the cost limit, stating:

“If the information were retrievable it would be exempted by virtue of the exemptions and rationale listed below:
To disclose information that mentions police tactics used in the prevention or detection of crime, through the medium of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, is tantamount to disclosing that information to those minded to criminality, thus giving those individuals an advantage over the forces of law and order. Disclosure would raise awareness amongst serious organised crime groups and terrorist groups of the tools and techniques available and deployed. It would reveal the capacity and capability available across Scottish policing again placing communities at risk by highlighting our weaknesses which would be exploited by crime groups”

This seems to be the foundation for citing Sections 31, 34, 35, 38 and 39 of FOI legislation.

According to the Cambridge Online Dictionary the definition of “tactics” includes:

“a planned way of doing something “
and
“the arrangement and use of soldiers and equipment in war “

(http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictiona...).

But I am not requesting information about tactics used in operations, I am requesting basic statistics about surveillance operations (which are by their nature extremely intrusive), not charging people over long periods of time. My request does not pertain to “capacity, capability, tools or techniques”. Capacity would encompass all operations and staffing. Tools, techniques and capability are unrelated to my request.

So there is a clear distinction between general statistics which are unattributed to any person or group, and methods used within such operations-which are irrelevant.

The information requested, since non-specific, would not constitute any hindrance to crime prevention or serve to facilitate criminal actions. Also this request is not for a Scottish total as you indicate, only for Northern Constabulary.

If criminal risk was a key argument against releasing data, then you might have offered a partial release of the information for those who do not have any criminal record or for surveillance which had gone on for some of the longer periods mentioned. As surely any assertion that those targeted were criminals would be substantiated either by a previous criminal record, or by actual evidence which would lead to conviction rather than self perpetuating surveillance for years/decades on end.

PUBLIC INTEREST ARGUMENTS FOR DISCLOSURE

The information I am requesting is regarding surveillance on those who have not been charged. If there is a long term surveillance operation which is not pressing charges against someone, especially where the person has little or no criminal record, then it begs a raft of questions which include:

Is what they are doing appropriate?

Who is responsible for the justification of such activity and is it founded on solid grounds?

If someone has not been charged; why should those who are paid to carry out surveillance, and have an inherent interest in it's continuity, decide who is criminally minded or not?

Is due process being followed, if not why not?

Is there any proper oversight of such activity?

It is apparent that the information, if released, would not afford answers to these questions. In compliance with legislation it could not. But any public debate on such matters would undoubtedly be a healthy and democratic thing.

You mentioned in the response that:

“The Office of the Surveillance Commissioner regulates this area rigorously.”

Before continuing it is worth noting the strangeness of mentioning rigorous regulation for an area where you seem to assert there is no dedicated records.

It states on the OSC website that it's budget is one million pounds and it employs 26 people. When you consider this relative to the whole UK, this is a fraction of a fraction of the total money and staff used on covert surveillance. Especially when one considers the number of different organisations involved.

Anyone who reads about crimes and misconduct carried out by covert police officers will be aware that it is almost always because of the innocent targets or whistle-blowers that scandals are uncovered. I have yet to read any story in the media showing that the OSC has successfully uncovered corruption. This indicates that, at best, the OSC may be uncovering problems but does not trust the public to know about them. Regardless of whether they are righting maladies or not; it isn't an open and honest approach.

As there is no legislation which curtails the length of time such surveillance can continue without charge, and those who are the subject cannot defend themselves against what has not been revealed, there is an evident grey area here which can and has been abused (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/robevans,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/undercover-...) .

The reasons themselves which can be provided in order to justify ongoing surveillance can be very wide ranging and take many different forms.

Such justifications are inherently weaker than actual court based evidence which affords measures to test the validity, veracity and truth of documents/accounts/recordings etc. With the striking constraints that the OSC has, it couldn't possibly verify the accuracy of all justifications for surveillance. So it likely relies on good faith. We live in a day and age where there is such high technology that just about any type of evidence can be manufactured, and the mechanisms which are meant to keep checks and balances have been long outstripped, outmanoeuvred, overstretched and underdeveloped. This is not to say that there are no experts who can properly analyse and evaluate such evidence accurately; but it tends to be beyond the resources and will of those with the powers to correct matters.

Those who are aware of what has been publicly released regarding surveillance operations in general will know that surveillance can be initiated for reasons which can be entirely injudicious and inappropriate. The surveillance of peaceful activists is something which police establishments continue to perpetuate without addressing the fact that taxpayers are largely against this. Such operations continue in wilful ignorance of democracy, without proper explanation or account. Countless untold millions of tax money are spent on covert operations each year. Those who operate in such activities largely have carte blanche to do as they please.

Where covert crimes and unethical behaviour are exposed, officers tend to indicate that the small proportion of problems which do get publicity are part of systemic patterns(eg with Mark Kennedy). That is to say, they are the tip of the iceberg. Where surveillance is wrongly applied, it is a diabolical thing. With the recent blacklisting scandal of labour workers, the legacy of destruction of peoples lives is only starting to transpire. The opinion of experts was that the intelligence stored by the company involved could only have been gathered by covert state forces. Where people are targeted, their whole families are made to suffer along with them too. Lives are destroyed and cast by the wayside.

Much time is spent by certain parties arguing in favour of non-disclosure of covert crimes because it may undermine faith in the police. But by trying to keep a lid on problems, mistrust is fuelled. People clearly understand that where there is inclination to commit a crime, someone is more likely to do so if they think that they can get away with it. So by keeping corruption behind closed doors, it serves to encourage it's continuance and provides it a breeding ground. By hiding corruption in any of it's manifestations, those “minded to crime” in society are encouraged to think in the same way.

So I would say the reality is contrary to your argument. Where Freedom of Information is used within the realms of legislation, it is a catalyst for a openness and the improvement of trust. And where people see the police being honest to an extent which is reasonable, they are more inclined to do so also. The more people see that no-one is above the law, the greater a sense of affinity they tend to have to their community after justice is served and lessons learnt. For instance, with the Hillsborough scandal, we have recently seen that the IPCC has been afforded more powers. Whilst that investigation is still active and there is raw emotion in the air, such advancements and any other resultant changes are certainly in the interests of the public. It is only by such things coming to light that organisations and culture can learn and advance.

If there are surveillance operations which have continued for a number of years without bringing any charge, then it is very likely that there has been erroneous and unethical activity. If the cap doesn't fit, it is probably for a very good reason. Your response seems to indicate that a great share of investigations carried out by Northern Constabulary include surveillance. But surely in the Highlands there can't be a massive amount of crimes which require investigation or surveillance lasting years. Usually an investigation is something which is geared towards getting a conviction within a reasonable amount of time.

Strategic attempts to bring down crime kingpins or monitor repeat offenders over longer periods can be justified. But this should not be used as a cloak with which to rationalize withholding basic statistics. There is an extreme and clear public interest in the information I have requested being provided which is founded in common law as well as European legislation. If such intrusive operations are initiating and perpetuating themselves without presenting charges then this is obviously of some great concern to the public. It is entirely possible that a significant portion of the surveillance in question is over-reaching and infringing innocent people's basic rights.

I am interested in the general information I have asked for which I believe affects ordinary people. People who have no opportunity for defence, no fitting support and no ability to deal with forces which see fit to deploy asset and activity wherever it satisfies; justifying such activity which intrudes and interferes in lives for years and sometimes decades on end without suitable independent accountability.

Don't misread me on the need for surveillance. I believe there is a self apparent need for the use of covert operations. But it is crucial that it is applied responsibly and not misused. And just as people in the Highlands should be alive to the fact that we have serious crime issues that require commensurate action; they should also be alive to the fact that the Highlands is far from immune to the blight of corruption. In fact, areas seen as remote tend to be thought of as more idyllic for ethically dubious operations because locals think of such things as distant from them.

COMMENTS UNCONNECTED WITH THE REFUSAL

When I read your comments referring to sections of FOI legislation to do with vexatious communications I was surprised and confused by it's inclusion.

I do not want to talk extensively about this matter so I will try to keep my points on this brief.

I read the case you mentioned and it left me more perplexed as to why you thought it was appropriate to bring up. FS50386292 was a request which, from what I can see included a vast amount of information which would appear, prima facie, to be exempt (since it would be classed as personal information). In addition to this it was also beset with a raft of other issues which simply have nothing to do with this.
In your response you also stated that you were:
“of the view that there must be something specific that you are looking for but are not prepared to articulate precisely. Because of the constraints of FOISA there is information we cannot disclose to applicants because of the harm in disclosing that information and putting it into the public domain.”

I think it is apparent from my communication that I have been very up front and specific about the information that I have sought. I have a fairly strong understanding about the types of information which are valid for disclosure and not. So I am not certain what you mean by this statement. My impression based on the multitude of angles you provide which appear to me disconnected and lacking in relevance to the request itself is one of a digressive and cloaked party. Such departures to include individual opinions do not seem to serve the Freedom of Information process in any constructive fashion. If you find that there are challenges in providing that which has been requested at a given time because documents contain information which is exempt under Freedom of Information, then as mentioned, the use of redaction may likely be appropriate.

My responses have always been concise and I have described clearly what I am asking. I have followed procedure to the best of my knowledge and have not sought to convolute or add pressure. Relevant communications have been made exclusively through this website.

Making different requests at different dates over a long period (months) is contrary to the normal understanding of vexatious activity which is when an individual or group makes a lot of requests at the same time. The fact that I have made different requests has been underlined by the different responses you have provided.

It is not unusual for a new request to follow the refusal of some information. Typically this situation can often be avoided where an authority has sought to aid the person requesting information. This can be done in a number of ways:

-by offering to provide part of the information where the costs are thought to exceed the guidelines
-by asking the person requesting to refine their search more specifically
-by providing guidance as to how such information might be better obtained
-by being open and honest and providing relevant information which underlies a balanced and considerate approach to analysing and deciding upon a request

If my responses have come across as short, I would apologize for this. But you cannot make judgements on “tone” based on typed text on a website which does not allow the use of italics. Where I perceive there are attempts to obfuscate, protract or undermine the Freedom Of Information process which I believe are not right, I think it is only correct that I address such points. Where I do so, I do in a concise and precise fashion lest I become a part of any such detractions from the process or the facts of the matter.

I would also politely add that, if you are considering making similar comments in future, the more appropriate time to do such a thing might be immediately after a request was made. Waiting until providing the actual text of a refusal itself and then supplementing it like this risks giving the impression that you may be trying to dissuade the person requesting the information from continuing the FOI process.

That said, it might assure you somewhat by my informing you that I don't have any new requests in mind now.

To conclude, I would like to request an internal review into your decision. The reasons for my dissatisfaction are as outlined under the first three headings above. Thank you for your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie

Your request for an internal review has been received and will be considered by an officer who was not involved in the original decision making process.

Your sincerely

Jennifer Mackay
Force Information Management Unit

Tel: 01463 720555
[email address]

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Sherriff, Pamela,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is the response following the Internal Review requested by you on 03/02/2013, below.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

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Sherriff, Pamela,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

The attached letter is in response to the Internal Review you requested, below.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Sherriff
Force Information Management Unit
Tel: 01463 720555
Web: www.northern.police.uk

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FOI, Inverness,

1 Attachment

GPMS Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Good morning Mr MacKenzie

Please find attached response to your request for a revised review as noted below.

My apologies for not responding to your request timeously.

Kind regards

Andrene

Andrene MacLeod
Senior Information Support Officer
Information Management Unit
Inverness

Office: 01463 720555
Website: http://www.scotland.police.uk
Twitter: @policescotland
Facebook: www.facebook.com/policescotland

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