Dear West Mercia Police,

Please can I have a copy of the "health and safety assessment by a specialist" referred to in this tweet?

https://twitter.com/SuptBrighton/status/...

"Regrettably Op Close Pass will not be taking place. Officer safety is my priority and a health and safety assessment by a specialist who has spoken to other forces has determined the risk is too great. I cannot deliberately put officers at risk." (sent by Superintendent Brighton at 12:40 on Sep 14th 2020)

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Mr Sittampalam

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 
33452                                                      

 

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
on 14^th September 2020.  Your request will now be considered in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

 

We will aim to provide a response to your request within 20 working days
as stipulated by the Act.  Please note that there may be unavoidable
delays when making information rights requests during the COVID-19
pandemic.  We are triaging and addressing requests in the following
order:  Subject access and then FOI requests.   Every effort will be made
to meet our statutory timescales for responding.  Thank you for your
understanding.

 

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information you request.  If this is the case you will be informed and
the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment
from you.  If you chose not to make payment then your request will be
withdrawn.

 

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way.  Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

 

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Sue Cale

Information Compliance Administrator

Information Compliance Unit

 

Internal ext:  7772545

Direct Line 01905 331545

 

 

 

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Mr Sittampalam

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 33452

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
on 14 September 2020. Please find below the response to your request:

 

Please can I have a copy of the "health and safety assessment by a
specialist" referred to in this tweet?

 

[1]https://twitter.com/SuptBrighton/status/...

 

"Regrettably Op Close Pass will not be taking place. Officer safety is my
priority and a health and safety assessment by a specialist who has spoken
to other forces has determined the risk is too great. I cannot
deliberately put officers at risk." (sent by Superintendent Brighton at
12:40 on Sep 14th 2020)

 

 

Reply:-

 

No information held.

Op Close Pass is in the planning stage and it is West Mercia Police’s
intention to run this operation in the near future.

 

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is as
accurate as possible

Your attention is drawn to the below which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or telephone the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely

 

Ms V Lewis

Information Compliance Unit
West Mercia Police

PO Box 55

Hindlip

Worcester

WR3 8SP

01905 331545 / 331565

 

 

West Mercia Police in complying with their statutory duty under sections 1
and 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed
information 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 The Force Solicitor, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, PO Box 55, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SP.

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 West Mercia Police (WMP) to review their
decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the person that dealt with your request.

Ask to have the decision looked at again -

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
contact the person named at the end of your decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
WMP made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information, you can lodge a complaint with WMP to have the
decision reviewed. WMP must be notified of your intention to complain
within 20 working days of the date of its response to your Freedom of
Information request. Complaints should be made in writing and addressed
to:

West Mercia Police Headquarters

Information Compliance Unit

Hindlip Hall

Hindlip

PO Box 55

Worcester

WR3 8SP

or

Email:  [West Mercia Police request email]

In all possible circumstances, WMP will aim to respond to your complaint
within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with WMP 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 https://ico.org.uk/ Alternatively phone or
write to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 if you prefer to use a
national rate number

Fax:    01625 524 510

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://twitter.com/SuptBrighton/status/...

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear West Mercia Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Mercia Police's handling of my FOI request 'Op Close Pass health and safety assessment'.

Your reply that no information is held directly contradicts the tweet I quoted by a senior member of your staff, so is not plausible without further explanation.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Ruaridh Browne left an annotation ()

I wonder how much thought goes in to these FoI responses?
We have a senior officer stating a H&S report was the reason that a proposed operation was cancelled and now we are told no such H&S report is held!
This can be interpreted in several ways:
1 Did the officer who tweeted originally lie?
2 Is the Force trying to be clever with words in framing the response?
3 Has the report been destoyed?

Regardless, they have a duty to be helpful in responding to FoI requests and at the very least they could have explained the apparent contradiction. All in all a poor response to a simple question.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

Seems the tweet has now been deleted. I'm glad I copied the text into the request.

Christopher Chiswell left an annotation ()

Thank you for pursuing this. It’s really important for transparency that information is made available to understand which forces were spoken to, by whom, and what they provided to west Mercia, or that this assessment was invented to justify an shaky decision.

Whilst the force has fortunately changed direction on close pass, understanding what happened here helps ensure more prompt scrutiny of future decisions, either by this force or others. Just wanted to encourage you to follow this through to its conclusion as you’re not the only one interested in this assessment,

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO:  33452 – Internal review

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 2 October 2020 requesting an
internal review of your FOI request.

 

You will receive a response within 20 working days unless there are
exceptional circumstances.

 

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number
above.

 

Kind regards,

 

David

 

David COLE (C60405), Supervisor – Information Compliance Unit

West Mercia Police

Tel 101 x7772785

Email [1][West Mercia Police request email]

Post Information Compliance Unit, PO Box 55, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, Hindlip Hall, Worcester, WR3 8SP

[2]www.westmercia.police.uk

 

 

West Mercia Police in complying with their statutory duty under sections 1
and 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed
information 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 The Force Solicitor, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, PO Box 55, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SP.

 

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 West Mercia Police
(WMP) to review their decision.

 

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the person that dealt with your request.

 

Ask to have the decision looked at again.  The quickest and easiest way to
have the decision looked at again is to telephone the person named at the
end of your decision letter.  That person will be able to discuss the
decision, explain any issues and assist with any problems.

 

Complaint

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
WMP made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information, you can lodge a complaint with WMP to have the
decision reviewed.  WMP must be notified of your intention to complain
within 20 working days of the date of its response to your Freedom of
Information request.  Complaints should be made in writing and addressed
to:

 

Information Compliance Unit

West Mercia Police Headquarters

PO Box 55

Hindlip Hall

Hindlip

Worcester

WR3 8SP

 

Alternatively, you can email [3][West Mercia Police request email]

 

In all possible circumstances, WMP will aim to respond to your complaint
within 20 working days.

 

The Information Commissioner

 

If after lodging a complaint with WMP you are still dissatisfied with the
decision, you may make application to the Information Commissioner (ICO)
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 [4]website.  Alternatively, you can contact the ICO in
writing or via phone:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Tel:  0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 (national rate)

Fax:  01625 524 510

 

show quoted sections

Information Compliance, West Mercia Police

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO:  33452 – Internal review

 

I write further to your email of 2 October 2020 requesting an internal
review of your FOI request.

 

Request for internal review

 

You have sought an internal review of the decision made in relation to
your request for information.

 

Decision of internal review

 

Having reviewed your original FOI request, the reasons for refusal and
your submissions in your email of 2 October 2020 I have I have determined
that the response given by the original Decision Maker was correct.

 

West Mercia Police do not hold a health and safety assessment by a
specialist for Op Close Pass.

 

To add some further context outside of the Freedom of Information Act
2000, the intention is for West Mercia Police to run Operation Close
Pass.  This is currently in the planning stages and the Tweet that was
released was a miscommunication.

 

 

Should you have any further queries concerning this matter, please contact
the Information Compliance Unit quoting the reference number above.

 

If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome of this internal review you
have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner.  Their contact
details are outlined below.

 

 

Kind regards,

 

David

 

David COLE (C60405), Supervisor – Information Compliance Unit

West Mercia Police

Tel 101 x7772785

Email [1][West Mercia Police request email]

Post Information Compliance Unit, PO Box 55, West Mercia Police
Headquarters, Hindlip Hall, Worcester, WR3 8SP

[2]www.westmercia.police.uk

 

 

The Information Commissioner

 

If after lodging a complaint with WMP you are still dissatisfied with the
decision, you may make application to the Information Commissioner (ICO)
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 [3]website.  Alternatively, you can contact the ICO in
writing or via phone:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Tel:  0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 (national rate)

Fax:  01625 524 510

 

show quoted sections

Ruaridh Browne left an annotation ()

So, we have a situation where a senior police officer tweeted about a non-existent report to suggest that an operation was not safe.
Dissapointing does not cover this.

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

I guess escalating this to the ICO is pointless, as it's unlikely the FOI officer is actually lying about what they hold. The question is what led to the tweet in the first place. I guess the possible follow-up actions would be to make a complaint about the tweet, or make a new request for any internal correspondence about the tweet. I don't plan to do that.

Ruaridh Browne left an annotation ()

I agree that it is not worth pursuing further.
There are a few points I would note:
1. This makes WMP look bad. I suspect the officer responsible has been spoken to.
2. Might the "report" have been an oral update? Or just the 'view' of a H&S official?
3. It shows one of the downsides of Twitter if used badly by authorities.