Operation Kalmia

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Independent Office for Police Conduct should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Independent Police Complaints Commission,

Operation Kalmia was an IPCC managed investigation that was concluded in March 2016. During the investigation Staffordshire Police provided the IPCC with a copy a report which has become known as the 'Costello Report'. The 'Costello Report' was referred to by the Court of Appeal in a lengthy judgement in which the convictions of five men were quashed.

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/...

The IPCC has recently declined a request to release the 'Costello Report' in part relying on the exemption provided by Section 23(5) Information Supplied by Security Bodies. In simple terms the IPCC 's decision is that the 'Costello Report' was provided to them by a third party (Staffordshire Police) therefore they could not release it.

A seperate FIO request made to Staffordshire Police has stalled apparently on the basis that Staffordshire Police and the IPCC have an agreement about the disclosure of the 'Costello Report' and although Staffordshire Police state that they are 'minded' to release the report they cannot without the permission of the IPCC.

The situation is quite confusing, on the one side the IPCC cannot release the Costello Report because it was supplied to them in confidence, on the other side the owners of the Costello Report cannot release the document without permission from the IPCC.

I strongly believe that the Costello Report is of great public interest, the contents of the report featured heavily in the Court of Appeals judgement when overturning the murder convictions of five men. Concealing the contents of the Costello Report undermines public confidence in Police and the independence of the IPCC.

For the above reasons I would like request the following information.

1. Full details of any document sharing or confidentality agreement between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police.

2. The exact date on which the IPCC concluded their involvement in the managed investigation known as Operation Kalmia.

3. Details of any verbal or written discussions betweeen Staffordshire Police and the IPCC in respect of FIO requests for the release of the Costello Report.

4. The time and dates of any meeting that have taken place between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police in which the release of the Costello Report under the FIO has been discusssed.

5. The names of the IPCC, Staffordshire Police representative and any other third parties present at any meeting as at (4) above.

6. Details of any correspondence received by the IPCC from Staffordshire Police requesting advice or instructions in respect of the FIO requests relating to Costello Report.

7. Details of any instruction or advise given by the IPCC to Staffordshire Police in connection with the FIO requests in respect of the Costello Repor

8. Having concluded the managed investigation does the IPCC retain any statutory responsiblity or duty to direct Staffordshire Police in respect of any FIO requests it may received.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

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Dear !FOI Requests,

My request for information is now overdue, the FIO Act provides a statutory period for public bodies to respond to requests under the Act and that period has elapsed. I am requesting an internal review concerning the failure of the IPCC to respond within the statutory period and failure to provide the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

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2 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson,

Please find attached to this email our response to your request of 29 June 2016, together with the information to which our response letter refers..

We are sorry about the delay in answering your request. Please quote our request reference 1006035 in any further correspondence about this request.

Yours sincerely

IPCC

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Dear !FOI Requests,

F.A.O. Mr Peter Orr, Deputy Director Of Operations

Thank you for your response to my FIO request in respect of the 'Costello Report' and the IPCC's correspondence with Staffordshire Police regarding disclosure of the document under the terms of the FIO.

I have looked over your letter which details the IPCC's responses and the accompanying letter which shows some redacted correspondence between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police.

I am currently considering whether to request an internal review concerning the response received however, before doing so I would like to clarify the response you gave in respect of point one.

"1. Full details of any document sharing or confidentiality agreement between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police."

The response offered by the IPCC appears to interpret my request as relating solely to any agreement which may limit or prevent either party from disclosing documents, under the FOIA. Using the IPCC's interpretation the response offered is that the IPCC does not hold any information falling within the terms of this request.

The interpretation decided upon by the IPCC is not what I intended or was outlined in my request, I would say that the interpretation used was incorrect and far too narrow. For the point of clarification I would like to point out that I requested full details of any document sharing or confidentiality agreement between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police, regardless of any impact may or may not have in respect of the FOIA.

Having clarified my interpretation of request one, I would like to point out that page five of the attachment accompanying your letter shows a redacted letter from Staffordshire Police's Solicitor to Sarah Green. The letter dated 27th May 2016, clearly mentions a document handling agreement and states that under the terms of that agreement Mr Baker is not permitted to disseminate or disclose documents without the written permission of the IPCC.

The list of correspondence between the IPCC and Staffordshire Police is short does not match previous information received from Staffordshire Police. For example:

On the 7th June 2016, I received a letter via Whatdotheyknow.com, which states.

"We have now received a response from the IPCC that they are considering
whether or not we can disclose the Costello Report. Therefore, we are now
awaiting a further response from them. Hopefully, this will be soon.*

On the 22nd June 2016, I received a letter via Whatdotheyknow.com, which states.

"Staffordshire Police has yet to receive the agreement of the IPCC for the disclosure of the Costello Report without which it is unable to release it under the Document Handling Agreement which it is bound by."

On the 11th July 2016, I received a formal response from Staffordshire Police via Whatdotheyknow.com, which states.

"During the conduct investigation by the IPCC Staffordshire Police were subject to a Document Handling Agreement which prohibited dissemination of the Costello Report without the IPCC’s written agreement. The IPCC have not agreed to the disclosure of the report by Staffordshire Police."

For details please see (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...)

These responses from Staffordshire Police clearly suggest that there was considerably more communication between them and IPCC. The response offered by the IPCC conflicts with the responses offered by Staffordshire Police. I am not in a position to speculate on truthfulness of the responses offered by either public body, however I do feel that the current situation does nothing to improve public confidence in the IPCC or Staffordshire Police.

I would be grateful if in the interests of openness and accuracy if you could revisit this matter and advise me accordingly.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

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Dear Independent Police Complaints Commission,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Independent Police Complaints Commission's handling of my FOI request 'Operation Kalmia'.

On the 1st September 2016, I wrote regarding a response that I had received concerning my FIO request. The purpose of my correspondence was to highlight what I felt were inconsistences and to seek clarification regarding the information provided by the IPCC. Three months have now passed with the IPCC having responded to my last communication, this is unprofessional and unacceptable.

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,

Mr L. Anderson

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Dear Independent Police Complaints Commission,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Independent Police Complaints Commission's handling of my FOI request 'Operation Kalmia?

I have not had any response to the correspondence I sent on the 1st September 2016, or the follow up note I sent on the 5th January 2017. The manner in which the IPCC have failed to deal with my request/correspondence in unacceptable and in breach of the FIO. I would like to request a formal internal review in to handling of this matter.

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,

Mr L. Anderson

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2 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson,

Thank you for your email of 3 February 2017 in which you requested an internal review of our handling of your request of 29 June 2016.

Attached to this email is a letter from David Knight explaining the outcome of his review together with the document to which the letter refers.

Please quote our reference 1006035 in any further correspondence about this matter.

Yours sincerely,

IPCC

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Dear !FOI Requests,

FAO Mr Knight,

Thank you for your correspondence dated 28th March 2017. I have read your letter which goes into considerable detail in an effort to explain the sequence of events that have led to the delays, thank you for that explanation. I do appreciate that individual staff members i.e. Mr Johnson have a difficult time trying to get other parties to provide the information necessary to answer FIO requests. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the IPCC to comply with the FIO Act, sadly compliance does not seem to be a high priority for senior management.

In your explanation you outline how I requested an internal review on the 3rd February 2017, however if you look again at the WDTK site you will find that I made a formal request for an internal review on the 5th January 2017. The correspondence received does not appear to acknowledge that the IPCC is in breach of Section 10 of the Act, nor does it address fully the three month deal in providing copies of the redacted documents that it agreed to release in December 2017.

I am sure that you understand my frustration given that I made my FIO Request nine months ago, and yet I am still awaiting the promised information. I am aware that I have the right to appeal to the ICO however before I make a decision on that I felt I should first seek an indication on when the IPCC will be releasing the redacted documents. Could you please advise me on when I can expect to receive the awaited redacted reports.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

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Dear Mr Anderson

I do appreciate your frustration and I am sorry for the slow progress. We would dearly like to have been able to complete the process sooner. It has been a very significant effort. I can report that our draft redactions of the Operation Kalmia investigation report have been made and we will now be consulting interested parties with a view to get it finalised and released as quickly as possible. Exactly when we will be ready is to some extent now dependent on others, but I would expect it to be early in June, and as soon as I have further progress or a firmer date to report I will let you know.

Incidentally, and just to keep the record straight, my letter of 28 March was in response to your internal review request of 3 February (our reference 1006035). Your correspondence of 5 January was in response to an earlier internal review I had done and sent to you on 9 December (our ref 1005889). I responded to that on 17 February.

Yours sincerely

David Knight
IPCC

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Dear !FOI Requests,

FAO Mr david Knight,

Once again thank you for your correspondence dated 11th April 2017. I note that you state that the draft redactions are complete, but that you are consulting interested parties. I must confess to being confused, the issue of redactions is surely a matter for the relevant public body, i.e. In this case the IPCC.

Who exactly are these interested parties that are delaying a statutory process for the release of this information? Surely you are not allowing Staffordshire Police, or the individuals investigated for this "serious perversion of the course of justice" to give their views on what the IPCC release.

I am not a lawyer or an expert on the FIO Act, however I cannot find the exemption or section which permits a public body to delay the release of information to allow 'interested parties' to make further adjustments to redacted information. Unless I am wrong in that belief I would ask that you comply with the terms and spirit of the legislation and publish it immediately.

In respect of the issue raised I. My last correspondence I.e. request for an earlier Internal Review, I cannot find any trace of the response you refer to dated on or around the 17th February 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Mr L. Anderson

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!FOI Requests,

Dear Mr Anderson,
 
Thank you for your email of 11 April 2017.
 
It is our responsibility as the public authority to which you made your
request to decide whether any of the exemptions under the FOIA apply.
However, as part IV of the Code of Practice under section 45 of the FOIA
makes clear, it is regarded as good practice to consult with affected
parties, and this is what we frequently do.  On this occasion we are
seeking CC Creedon’s views and those of the affected officers whose
personal data is included in the report.  We will take our own decisions,
taking proper account of any representations we receive.
 
My email of 17 February 2017 was sent in reply to the email address from
which you sent your email of 5 January 2017 and is therefore available on
the relevant 'What Do They Know' (WDTK) web page:
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...
This web page relates to your request of 31 March 2016 for, amongst other
things, the Kalmia and Costello reports. The IPCC reference for this
request is 1005889.  
 
I note that you have sent your email of 11 April from the WDTK address
that corresponds with your FOI request of 29 June 2016 for document
handling or confidentiality agreements (our reference 1006035). See:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...
 
This means that the WDTK web address from which you have sent your email
of 11 April 2017 does not correspond with the request to which it refers,
being your request of 31 March 2016 for the reports. This may explain why
you have not been able to find my email of 17 February.
 
Yours sincerely
 
David Knight
IPCC
 
 

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