Numbergroup's nuisance telephone calls

Uwe Bergman made this Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Police

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 refused by West Midlands Police.

Dear West Midlands Police,

(1) On the assumption your territorial police force covers

BIRMINGHAM B3

please reveal if and when your police force received any complaints from

NUMBERGROUP NETWORK LIMITED
UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT
31 CAROLINE STREET
BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

or

NUMBERGROUP ONLINE SERVICES LTD
c/o NO 53
27 COLMORE ROW
BIRMINGHAM B3 2EW

or

NUMBERGROUP BILLING SERVICES LIMITED
UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT
31 CAROLINE STREET
BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

or

JODY ROBERT RHODES
believed to be the beneficial owner and controller of the above businesses

that one or more telephone numbers allocated to any of the above entities by the UK regulator OFCOM, including 0121-400 0097, had its caller presentation number (meaning the telephone number displayed to call recipients) forged or otherwise impersonated by third parties with intent to commit a public nuisance and/or harass members of the public or commit an offence pursuant to the Fraud Act 2006.

(2) Mr JODY ROBERT RHODES made public statements on web sites

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

http://www.numbergroup.com/calls-0121400...

alleging an "ongoing police and action fraud investigation".

(3) This enquiry is designed to ascertain whether your police force is aware of the perpetual junk calls distressing countless thousands of the public which are continuing to be made on telephone numbers allocated by OFCOM to the above named businesses; and whether your police force is aware of the alleged criminal activity involving telephone numbers 0121-400 0097 and 01665-462 045.

Yours faithfully,

Uwe Bergman

Uwe Bergman left an annotation ()

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

Dear Uwe

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST REFERENCE No:

 

Your request for information, received 16^th October 2013 has now been
considered.

 

REQUEST

 

(1)  On the assumption your territorial police force covers

 

BIRMINGHAM B3

Please reveal if and when your police force received any complaints from

 

NUMBERGROUP NETWORK LIMITED

UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT

31 CAROLINE STREET

BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

 

or

 

NUMBERGROUP ONLINE SERVICES LTD

c/o NO 53

27 COLMORE ROW

BIRMINGHAM B3 2EW

 

or

 

NUMBERGROUP BILLING SERVICES LIMITED

UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT

31 CAROLINE STREET

BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

 

or

 

JODY ROBERT RHODES

Believed to be the beneficial owner and controller of the above businesses

 

That one or more telephone numbers allocated to any of the above entities
by the UK regulator OFCOM,

Including 0121-400 0097, had its caller presentation number (meaning the
telephone number displayed to

Call recipients) forged or otherwise impersonated by third parties with
intent to commit a public nuisance and/or harass members of the public or
commit an offence pursuant to the Fraud Act 2006.

 

(2) Mr JODY ROBERT RHODES made public statements on web sites

 

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

 

http://www.numbergroup.com/calls-0121400...

 

Alleging an "ongoing police and action fraud investigation".

 

(3)  This enquiry is designed to ascertain whether your police force is
aware of the perpetual junk calls distressing countless thousands of the
public which are continuing to be made on telephone numbers allocated by
OFCOM to the above named businesses; and whether your police force is
aware of the alleged criminal activity involving telephone numbers
0121-400 0097 and 01665-462 045.

 

RESPONSE

 

A FOI Request is not the appropriate way to report a crime.

If you wish to report this activity then please see
http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/conta...

 

 

DECISION UNDER THE TERMS OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

 

West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny that we hold any of the
requested information. This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under
Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

 

REASONS FOR DECISION

 

The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public
authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds
and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.

 

In this case West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny the
existence of any relevant data by virtue of

 

LIST EXEMPTION

 

Section 30 (5)

 

This exemption and explanatory notes are shown here:

 

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/foi/p...

 

Please find following detailed reasoning on the application of these
exemptions.

 

No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have
requested does or does not exist.

 

Your attention is drawn to your right to request a re-examination of your
case under West Midlands Police review procedure, which can be found at:

 

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/pdf/F...

 

Please note that such an appeal must be received within 40 working days of
the date of this correspondence.

 

If you require any further information, then please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Shirley Munn

Freedom of Information

Information Services

Tel: 0345 113 5000

ext: 7630 6781

 

To report crime and anti-social behaviour which does not require an
emergency response please call 101. In an emergency call 999. For all
other enquiries (or for callers outside the West Midlands), dial 0345 113
5000

Website: [1]www.west-midlands.police.uk
Twitter: [2]www.twitter.com/wmpolice
Facebook: [3]www.facebook.com/westmidlandspolice
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Flickr: [5]www.flickr.com/westmidlandspolice

 

[6]View all our social network links

 

Our vision: Serving our communities, protecting them from harm

 

This email is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged
or confidential information. If received in error, please notify the
originator immediately. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, copying or
alteration of this email is strictly forbidden. Views or opinions
expressed in this email do not necessarily represent those of West
Midlands Police. All West Midlands Police email activity is monitored for
virus, racist, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate activity. No
responsibility is accepted by West Midlands Police for any loss or damage
arising in any way from the receipt or use of this email.

References

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2. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
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5. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
6. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...

Dear West Midlands Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Midlands Police's handling of my FOI request 'Numbergroup's nuisance telephone calls'.

**************
I asked, inter alia, about an inanimate telephone number 0121-400 0097 which a business with title to the number has publicly alleged to be, or has been, part of an investigation by the West Midlands Police territorial police force (the same West Midlands Police as currently featuring in the Plebgate scandal).

The alleged police investigation was about criminal misuse of the telephone number.

The very minimum West Midlands Police can, and should have done, is to state whether any complaints from the persons (individual or corporate) have been received about suspected criminal activity involving that telephone number.

*******************************************

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

Yours faithfully,

Uwe Bergman

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

Dear Uwe Bergman

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST REFERENCE No: 4229/13

 

Thank you for your email received 25 October 2013 where you requested West
Midlands Police to review its response to your request for information.

 

As stated in the original response a request under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act is not the appropriate way to report a crime.

 

If you wish to report this activity then please see
http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/conta...

 

REQUEST

 

(1)  On the assumption your territorial police force covers BIRMINGHAM B3

 

Please reveal if and when your police force received any complaints from

 

NUMBERGROUP NETWORK LIMITED

UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT

31 CAROLINE STREET

BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

 

or

 

NUMBERGROUP ONLINE SERVICES LTD

c/o NO 53

27 COLMORE ROW

BIRMINGHAM B3 2EW

 

or

 

NUMBERGROUP BILLING SERVICES LIMITED

UNIT 1 ANSTY COURT

31 CAROLINE STREET

BIRMINGHAM B3 1UQ

 

or

 

JODY ROBERT RHODES

Believed to be the beneficial owner and controller of the above businesses

 

That one or more telephone numbers allocated to any of the above entities
by the UK regulator OFCOM, Including 0121-400 0097, had its caller
presentation number (meaning the telephone number displayed to Call
recipients) forged or otherwise impersonated by third parties with intent
to commit a public nuisance and/or harass members of the public or commit
an offence pursuant to the Fraud Act 2006.

 

(2) Mr JODY ROBERT RHODES made public statements on web sites

 

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

 

http://www.numbergroup.com/calls-0121400...

 

Alleging an "ongoing police and action fraud investigation".

 

(3)  This enquiry is designed to ascertain whether your police force is
aware of the perpetual junk calls distressing countless thousands of the
public which are continuing to be made on telephone numbers allocated by
OFCOM to the above named businesses; and whether your police force is
aware of the alleged criminal activity involving telephone numbers
0121-400 0097 and 01665-462 045.

 

DECISION UNDER THE TERMS OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

 

A review has been conducted and the decision to neither confirm nor deny
that any information is held is upheld by West Midlands Police. This
letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).

 

As well as Section 30 (3) I have found that the information is exempt by
Section 40 (5).  In addition, the response makes reference to detailed
reasoning (Public Interest Test) which was not provided.  I have provided
my reasoning along with this response.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION

 

The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public
authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds
and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.

 

In this case West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny the
existence of any relevant data by virtue of Section 40 (5) and Section 30
(3).

 

Please find on following pages detailed reasoning on the application of
these exemptions.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Carl Bird

Freedom of Information

 

 

Section 40 (5)

 

To reach a conclusion regarding section 40 in this case I have used the
Information Commissioner’s advice on Personal Data which is available on
the Information Commissioner’s website.

 

Firstly we need to consider whether the requested information, if any
where held, would constitute personal data. Within Decision Notice
FS50257023 the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) sets out two
questions to decide whether information constitutes personal data. These
are:

 

1)     Can a living individual be identified from the data, or, from the
data and other information in the possession of, or likely to come into
the possession of, the member of the public?

2)     Does the data ‘relate to’ the identifiable living individual,
whether in personal or family life, business or profession?

 

The ICO states that the information will relate to an individual if it is:

 

·         About them

·         Linked to them

·         Has some biographical significance for them

·         Is used to inform decisions affecting them

·         Has them as its main focus; or

·         Impacts on them in any way

 

The request names a specific individual and, if any data did exist it
would meet all of the above criteria. Therefore, as the data allow for the
identification of a person, and it relates to them, it is personal data.

 

Secondly I considered whether confirmation or denial that any information
is held would breach the first data protection principle which states that
‘Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully’. Fairness can be a
difficult concept to define, and in this context the ICO believes that
deciding on what is fair will usually mean considering:

 

·         the possible consequences of disclosure on the individual;

·         the reasonable expectations of the individual, taking into
account expectations both at the time the information was collected and at
the time of the request;

·         the nature of the information itself;

·         the circumstances in which the information was obtained;

·         whether the information has been or remains in the public
domain;

·         the ‘freedom of information’ principles of transparency and
accountability; and

·         any legitimate interests in the public having access to the
information relevant to the specific case.

 

The ICO believes that ‘Personal information should not be used in ways
that have unjustifiable adverse effects on the individuals concerned’. It
is unlikely that those who report crimes to West Midlands Police would
expect the information to be made public outside of the normal judicial
processes. It is therefore safe to assume that any person’s reasonable
expectation would be that such information would not be placed into the
public domain, unless it is within the normal legal procedures associated
with the courts.

 

If any of the specific information requested exists, it has not been
placed into the public domain and there are processes for the legitimate
interests of the public (and legal processes) to be satisfied, without the
needed for the material to be placed into the public domain.

 

Therefore I believe that to publically confirm or deny that this
information exists would not be fair. Consequently Section 40 (5) is
engaged with respect to this information as confirmation or denial would
breach the first data protection principle.

 

 

Section 30 (3)

 

Harm

 

The Freedom of Information Act makes it a legal requirement that an
authority has to not only provide information, unless it is exempt, but to
also confirm whether or not that information is held, unless to do so
would in itself provide exempt information. In this case to confirm or
deny details of an investigation would provide confirmation of the
existence, or otherwise, of an investigation. Acknowledgement of this in
the public domain would allow criminals to either change their behaviour
in order to avoid prosecution (if data were held) or carry on illegal
behaviour safe in the knowledge that their actions were not being
investigated (if no information were held).

 

Release of information through the Freedom of Information Act removes any
of the legal strictures and assumptions of confidentiality associated with
the due legal process. As a consequence any ongoing or subsequent court
proceedings could be jeopardised where release of information regarding an
individual was identified.

 

Considerations that favour confirming or denying

 

Transparency

Disclosing information about investigations would provide a greater
transparency in the investigating process and the actions of a public
authority. It is clear that there is a public interest in public
authorities operating in as transparent a manner as possible, as this
should ensure they operate effectively and efficiently. Confirming the
existence of an investigation could help to ensure that authorities do not
overlook issues which they should investigate or that they have good
reasons for not investigating.

 

Accountability

There is a clear public interest in ensuring that public authorities do
not act outside their authority by investigating matters which fall
outside their remit. By making certain that public authorities confirm or
deny whether information is held in relation to investigations, this
should provide the necessary safeguards and satisfy the public interest in
this matter.

 

Considerations against confirming or denying

 

Fair Treatment of an Individual or organisations

The interest of the public is best served by the non-disclosure of
information which adversely affects the reputation of an individual e.g.
whether they are involved in a police investigation. In this case the
request specifically asks for information about individuals.

 

Public Confidence

The public must be confident that West Midlands Police are committed to
ensuring that information provided by them will only be used for
appropriate purposes and that the confidentiality of any information given
will be maintained. Therefore they should be assured that West Midlands
Police would never confirm or deny the existence or otherwise of
information that would breach confidentiality.

 

Law Enforcement

Where current or future law enforcement role of the force may be
compromised by the release of information, then this is unlikely to be in
the interest of the public.  In this case, for the reasons outlined above,
confirming or denying the existence of an investigation could jeopardise
future police operations and compromise the future prevention and
detection of crime.

 

Efficient and Effective Conduct of the Service

There is an inherently strong public interest in public authorities
carrying out investigations to prevent and detect crime. This ensures that
offenders are brought to justice and that the necessary checks and
balances are in place to safeguard public funds and resources. To allow
the effectiveness of investigations to be reduced, as described in the
harm above, is not in the public interest. West Midlands Police need to be
allowed to carry out investigations effectively away from public scrutiny
until such times as the details need to be made public, otherwise it will
be difficult for accurate, thorough and objective investigations to be
carried out.

 

Legal Proceedings

It would not be in the public interest to confirm or deny the existence or
otherwise of information that may be of assistance to offenders/prevent an
individual from being brought to justice.  The right to a fair trial is of
paramount importance and any disclosure which could enhance media
attention prior to any proceedings could compromise an individual’s right
to a fair trial under the Human Rights Act.

 

Balancing Test

 

For a public interest test, issues that favour release need to be measured
against issues that favour non-disclosure. The public interest is not what
interests the public, or a particular individual, but what will be the
greater good, if released, to the community as a whole.

 

The issues of transparency and awareness are noted. However, on balance it
is considered that the public interest in confirming or denying whether
the information exists is outweighed by the potential impact release would
have on individual’s privacy and on future law enforcement activities.

 

Although confirmation of whether or not the requested information is held
by the public authority might provide a greater transparency in the
investigating process, there are already a number of checks and balances
on authorities to assess whether investigations are conducted
appropriately. There are legal processes in place to ensure that all
parties are given access to all the appropriate information at the time of
any trial and subsequently through court records. In addition if a person
feels that they have been treated inappropriately by the police there are
clear processes in place to ensure that matters are investigated
thoroughly and appropriately.

 

Releasing information outside of such a schedule could undermine the
smooth running of these processes and would impact on future judicial
proceedings. Therefore the wider public interest lies in protecting the
ability of the public authority to conduct an effective investigation and
consider the outcome.

 

Having considered the arguments for and against, the public interest test
favours maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny whether
the information exists. West Midlands Police will not disclose information
that could reveal personal information or could compromise the future law
enforcement role of the force.

 

 

 

 

Freedom of Information Unit

Information Services

Tel: 0345 113 5000

ext: 7630 6110

 

To report crime and anti-social behaviour which does not require an
emergency response please call 101. In an emergency call 999. For all
other enquiries (or for callers outside the West Midlands), dial 0345 113
5000

Website: [1]www.west-midlands.police.uk
Twitter: [2]www.twitter.com/wmpolice
Facebook: [3]www.facebook.com/westmidlandspolice
YouTube: [4]www.youtube.com/westmidlandspolice

Flickr: [5]www.flickr.com/westmidlandspolice

 

[6]View all our social network links

 

Our vision: Serving our communities, protecting them from harm

 

 

 

This email is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged
or confidential information. If received in error, please notify the
originator immediately. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, copying or
alteration of this email is strictly forbidden. Views or opinions
expressed in this email do not necessarily represent those of West
Midlands Police. All West Midlands Police email activity is monitored for
virus, racist, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate activity. No
responsibility is accepted by West Midlands Police for any loss or damage
arising in any way from the receipt or use of this email.

References

Visible links
1. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
2. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
3. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
4. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
5. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
6. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...