Outside force investigations

Neil Wilby made this Freedom of Information request to West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Please provide the following details of all outside police force investigations requested by WYOPCC since 1st December 2012.

Date requested

Force (or policing body) appointed to investigate

Operational name

Terms of reference

Budget agreed

Date finalised

Final cost

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Contact (WYPCC),

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Contact (WYPCC),

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FAO Mr Neil Wiby,

 

Thank you for your email regarding outside police force investigations.

 

We will contact you again shortly.

 

Kind regards

 

Lucy Teale

Business Support Officer

:Email: [1][email address]

( Internal:  27209

( External:  01924 294000

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Wilby

Thank you for your request for information received by the OPCC on 10 August 2016.

You requested the following information:

Details of all outside police force investigations requested by WYOPCC since 1st December 2012, including:

Date requested

Force (or policing body) appointed to investigate

Operational name

Terms of reference

Budget agreed

Date finalised

Final cost

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act provides:

(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying 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.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 obliges us to respond to requests promptly and in any case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. We must consider firstly whether we can comply with S1(1)(a) of the Act, which is our duty to confirm whether or not the information requested is held and secondly we must comply with S1(1)(b), which is the provision of such information.

However, when a qualified exemption applies either to the confirmation or denial or the information provision and the public interest test is engaged, the Act allows the time for response to be longer than 20 working days, if the balance of such public interest is undetermined.

In this case, we have not yet reached a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. We estimate that it will take an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where this balance lies.

I would like to apologise in advance for the delay in responding to your request.

Please be assured that we will endeavour to send a response out to you as soon as possible.

If you no longer require the information requested, please contact us on the details above.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Julie Reid
Business Support Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Tel: 01924 294000
Email: [email address]

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

Dear West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's handling of my FOI request 'Outside force investigations'.

On any reasonable, independent view the public interest balancing test cannot be considered to be either sufficiently complex or voluminous enough to justify a delay in finalising this request.

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,

Neil Wilby

Contact (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

 

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to your message within 10 working days but please be aware that this
mailbox receives a high volume of e-mails on a daily basis.

 

In the meantime, you may be able to find the information you are seeking
on the Police and Crime Commissioner's website
[1]www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk.

 

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Wilby

Thank you for your email, below. I can confirm that your request for internal review is being passed to members of the Joint Independent Audit and Ethics Committee in line with our appeal procedure.

Regards.

Julie Reid
Business Support Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Tel: 01924 294000
Email: [email address]

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Wilby

In accordance with our FOI appeal policy your request for an internal review has been considered by two members of the Joint Independent Audit Committee. The members reviewed the information which is held by the OPCC and upheld the decision to extend the response timeframe for a further 20 working days in order for the public interest to be considered. The members felt that this extension was necessary in view of the complexity of the information.

Regards

Julie Reid

Julie Reid
Business Support Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Tel: 01924 294000
Email: [email address]

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

Dear FOI (WYPCC),

Thank you for the update.

I will, accordingly, expect the finalisation on or before 6th October, 2016.

Beyond that date, I will submit the matter as a complaint to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby

FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

This is an automatic acknowledgement. Thank you for contacting the Office
of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire. This mailbox is
monitored during normal office hours only. We will respond to your message
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high volume of e-mails on a daily basis.

 

In the meantime, you may be able to find the information you are seeking
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[1]www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk.

 

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Mr Wilby

Further to my email of 8 September 2016 I am writing to inform you that, unfortunately, it is necessary to extend the timeframe for responding to your request for disclosure in order to complete an assessment of the public interest in this case.

Please accept my apologies for this. We hope to be able to provide you with a response by 21 October.

Regards

Julie Reid
Business Support Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Tel: 01924 294000
Email: [West Yorkshire PCC request email]

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

Reid, Julie, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Wilby

 

Further to my email of 5 October 2016 I am writing to inform you that,
unfortunately, it is necessary to extend the timeframe for responding to
your request for disclosure in order to complete an assessment of the
public interest in this case.

 

Please accept my apologies for this.   We will contact you further to give
you an anticipated date for response as soon as we are able.

 

Yours

 

Julie Reid

 

 

 

Julie Reid

Business Support Manager

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Tel:  01924 294000

Email:  [1][email address]

 

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland
House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit:
[2]www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

 

[3][IMG]

 

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Dear West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Your latest communication is being treated as a refusal to provide the information.

A complaint has now been submitted to the Information Commissioner's Officer under S50 of the Act.

The grounds for complaint are as follows:

1. The information was requested on 10th August, 2016.

2. An request for internal review was made on 10th September, 2016. The complaint was finalised on 27th September, 2016.

3. Since the finalisation of the complaint, the requester has given the data controller every opportunity to comply with the Act. In return, the data controller has twice breached the findings of the independent reviewers.

3. The rationale for the further delays in not providing the information is, in the absence of any supporting information from the data controller, inherently absurd.

4. Emailing at 16.47 on the afternoon that a finalisation was promised (for the third time) does not assist when assessing the credibility of the data controller's responses. That is conduct calculated to vex and annoy the requester.

5. The conduct of the data controller in the instant request is also mirrored in another information request made recently by the same requester 'Operation Barium'. The details of that request can be found at this link.

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

Accordingly, the requester seeks from the ICO a declaration that the data controller has breach the Act and a Direction to the effect that the request be finalised without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Contact (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire.

 

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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Dear Mr Wilby

 

Please find attached a response to your request for information.

 

Regards

 

Julie Reid

 

 

Julie Reid

Business Support Manager

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Tel:  01924 294000

Email:  [1][email address]

 

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland
House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit:
[2]www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

 

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Dear FOI (WYPCC),

Dear West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner,

Please treat this post as a request for an internal review of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's (the Police Commissioner's) handling of my FOI request 'Outside force investigations'.

The grounds for complaint are:

1. Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act ("the Act") requires a public authority to respond to information requests PROMPTLY and, in any event, within 20 working days. The instant request has taken 1 year, 1 month and 5 days to provide what is, on any independent view, a wholly unsatisfactory response.

2. There is no explanation for the delay and no apology. That is discourteous, unprofessional and unethical.

3. Section 17(1) of the Act states that if a public authority wishes to refuse any part of a request it must issue a refusal notice within the 20 working day time for compliance. No such notice was given.

4. The information disclosed does not satisfy the request. There are at least three other relevant outside force investigations called for by the Police Commissioner of which the public is aware to a greater, or lesser, degree.

5. The presumption is that, having failed to disclose the requested details of those other investigations, that there are likely to be more. That assumption is informed by the Police Commissioner's regrettable, and concerning, propensity to obfuscate and conceal.

6. With regard to the information that is disclosed, the following points are made:

(i) The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Magyar Helsinki Bizottság v Hungary [18030/11] stipulated four ‘threshold criteria’ to better define the circumstances under which a denial of access to information constitutes an interference (to a requester’s Article 10 rights) in a given case (§156):
a. The purpose of the information requested: contribution to a public debate
b. The nature of the information sought: public interest nature
c. The role of the applicant: social watchdogs and alike
d. Whether the information is ready and available to the public authorities

(ii) In the matters disclosed so far in instant request there has already been considerable public debate in the local, national press and on radio and television (a); the Commissioner has not weighed the public interest arguments appropriately (b); the requester is an NUJ accredited journalist (c); it is known (and conceded by the Commissioner) that this part of the requested information is ready and available.

(iii) The Commissioner’s refusal to disclose the information in full, therefore, clearly engages the requester’s Article 10 rights and may give rise to a tortious claim against the Council.

7. The requester was, of course, closely involved in Operation Lamp. He acted as complaint advocate for the Major family at the time the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) review was instigated. To give context to this internal review request it might be noted that, even after three attempts, the Police Commissioner failed to provide an accurate record of a meeting that took place with the Major family prior to the launching of Operation Lamp investigation. GMP were ultimately provided with the only accurate version in existence by the requester in the instant request.

8 (i) Part of that role was acting as the family’s representative in the setting of the Terms of Reference. For that reason, the requester can say that the disclosed information in the instant request is not what was agreed with Greater Manchester Police by him or the Major family. That does, of course, raise the rather serious issue that the requester was either misled by GMP in 2013, or is being misled (again) by the Commissioner now. Or, of course, both.
(ii) Please also disclose the full Operation Lamp investigation report and the seven volumes of evidence associated with it. That may, of course, be treated by the Commissioner as a new request under s1(1)(a) of the Act.

9. The Commissioner, in all the circumstances, is urged to expedite this internal review and the new request for information at 7(ii). Particularly, in the light of matters raised above at paras 4, 5 and 7(i).

10. The Commissioner might also note that any internal review undertaken by the Joint Internal Audit Committee (JIAC) would be rejected by the requester, for the reasons set out in his appeal to the First Tier Tribunal against the outcome of a previous information request (EA2017/0186). In the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice (FS50662577) the Police Commissioner was found to be in breach of s10 and s17 of the Act (see paras 1 and 2 of the above).

11. The contribution of the JIAC in that finalisation never rose above the risible - and was in breach of s45 of the Act, in any event. In the requester’s respectful submission, the re-consideration of the instant request, and particularly the 'Magyar' issue, requires the input of an experienced, and preferably legally qualified, information practitioner.

12. Last, but by far from least, no materials concerning this request were disclosed in a recently finalised data subject access request made by the requester. That is a matter you might wish to address in the internal review, but it does give rise to a claim for damages and distress under s13 (1) and (2) of the Data Protection Act, 1998.

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,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

This is an automatic acknowledgement. Thank you for contacting the Office
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In the meantime, you may be able to find the information you are seeking
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Teale, Lucy, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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Good morning Mr Wilby,

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner on 17th September 2017.

Your request (para 8 section ii) 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, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party. In some circumstances the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

Lucy Teale
Business Support Officer
Email: [email address]
l Internal:  27209
I External:  01924 294000
Follow us on Twitter - @WestYorksOPCC
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Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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Dear Mr Wilby

 

I am writing further to your request for internal review in relation to
the disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2012
(the Act).   You requested information relating to outside police force
investigations requested by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West
Yorkshire since 1 December 2012.   

 

Your request for internal review was made on 17 September 2017 and was
considered by two Independent Members of the Joint Independent Audit and
Ethics Committee on 4 October 2017.   The members considered each of the
points in your review as follows:

 

1. Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act ("the Act") requires a
public authority to respond to information requests PROMPTLY and, in any
event, within 20 working days. The instant request has taken 1 year, 1
month and 5 days to provide what is, on any independent view, a wholly
unsatisfactory response.

 

Appeal point upheld in relation to the delay in response.

 

Members were made aware of the reasons for the extension and for the delay
in disclosing information to you and were able to examine the objections
to disclosure which were received and agreed that the delay associated
with this disclosure was in breach of the FOI Act.

 

2. There is no explanation for the delay and no apology. That is
discourteous, unprofessional and unethical.

 

Appeal point not upheld.

 

Members considered the response which was issued to you and noted that it
identifies the reasons for delay and includes an apology.

 

3. Section 17(1) of the Act states that if a public authority wishes to
refuse any part of a request it must issue a refusal notice within the 20
working day time for compliance. No such notice was given.

 

Appeal point upheld.

 

Members considered the information which was provided to you and agreed
that a refusal notice had not been issued within 20 working days as
required by the Act.

 

4. The information disclosed does not satisfy the request. There are at
least three other relevant outside force investigations called for by the
Police Commissioner of which the public is aware to a greater, or lesser,
degree.

 

Appeal point not upheld.

 

Members were assured that no other information, except for that identified
in the response, is held by the Office of the Police and Crime
Commissioner (OPCC) about outside force investigations within the
timeframe specified.

 

5. The presumption is that, having failed to disclose the requested
details of those other investigations, that there are likely to be more.
That assumption is informed by the Police Commissioner's regrettable, and
concerning, propensity to obfuscate and conceal.

 

The appeal panel are unable to comment on this assumption.

 

6. With regard to the information that is disclosed, the following points
are made:

 

(i) The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Magyar
Helsinki Bizottság v Hungary [18030/11] stipulated four ‘threshold
criteria’ to better define the circumstances under which a denial of
access to information constitutes an interference (to a requester’s
Article 10 rights) in a given case (§156):

a. The purpose of the information requested: contribution to a public
debate b. The nature of the information sought: public interest nature c.
The role of the applicant: social watchdogs and alike d. Whether the
information is ready and available to the public authorities

 

(ii) In the matters disclosed so far in instant request there has already
been considerable public debate in the local, national press and on radio
and television (a); the Commissioner has not weighed the public interest
arguments appropriately (b); the requester is an NUJ accredited journalist
(c); it is known (and conceded by the Commissioner) that this part of the
requested information is ready and available.

 

(iii) The Commissioner’s refusal to disclose the information in full,
therefore, clearly engages the requester’s Article 10 rights and may give
rise to a tortious claim against the Council.

 

Members have noted the case referred to and the threshold criteria
contained within it.  This request for internal review is, however,
conducted within the context of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

7. The requester was, of course, closely involved in Operation Lamp. He
acted as complaint advocate for the Major family at the time the Greater
Manchester Police (GMP) review was instigated. To give context to this
internal review request it might be noted that, even after three attempts,
the Police Commissioner failed to provide an accurate record of a meeting
that took place with the Major family prior to the launching of Operation
Lamp investigation. GMP were ultimately provided with the only accurate
version in existence by the requester in the instant request.

 

Members have noted this statement, however, do not consider it within the
scope of the internal review.

 

8 (i) Part of that role was acting as the family’s representative in the
setting of the Terms of Reference. For that reason, the requester can say
that the disclosed information in the instant request is not what was
agreed with Greater Manchester Police by him or the Major family. That
does, of course, raise the rather serious issue that the requester was
either misled by GMP in 2013, or is being misled (again) by the
Commissioner now. Or, of course, both.

(ii) Please also disclose the full Operation Lamp investigation report and
the seven volumes of evidence associated with it. That may, of course, be
treated by the Commissioner as a new request under s1(1)(a) of the Act.

 

Appeal point not upheld.

 

Members have reviewed the information held by the OPCC and are satisfied
that the correct terms of reference were disclosed.

 

Members note that your subsequent request for information is being dealt
with separately by the OPCC.

 

9. The Commissioner, in all the circumstances, is urged to expedite this
internal review and the new request for information at 7(ii).
Particularly, in the light of matters raised above at paras 4, 5 and 7(i).

 

10. The Commissioner might also note that any internal review undertaken
by the Joint Internal Audit Committee (JIAC) would be rejected by the
requester, for the reasons set out in his appeal to the First Tier
Tribunal against the outcome of a previous information request
(EA2017/0186). In the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice
(FS50662577) the Police Commissioner was found to be in breach of s10 and
s17 of the Act (see paras 1 and 2 of the above).

 

Members note that the Information Commissioner concluded in the Decision
Notice FS50662577 that ‘The internal review process, including the choice
of reviewers and their qualifications, is a matter for the PCC alone. 
Accordingly she did not find that the PCC had breached the code of
practice and did not upheld that aspect of the complaint’.

 

11. The contribution of the JIAC in that finalisation never rose above the
risible - and was in breach of s45 of the Act, in any event. In the
requester’s respectful submission, the re-consideration of the instant
request, and particularly the 'Magyar' issue, requires the input of an
experienced, and preferably legally qualified, information practitioner.

 

12. Last, but by far from least, no materials concerning this request were
disclosed in a recently finalised data subject access request made by the
requester. That is a matter you might wish to address in the internal
review, but it does give rise to a claim for damages and distress under
s13 (1) and (2) of the Data Protection Act, 1998.

 

Members note the response issued to you in April 2017 under the Data
Protection Act and also note that this is outside of the scope of this
internal review of FOI disclosure.

 

You have a further right of appeal which you may exercise by contacting
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ico.org.uk).

 

Regards

 

Julie Reid

 

 

 

Julie Reid

Business Support Manager

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Tel:  01924 294000

Email:  [1][email address]

 

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland
House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit:
[2]www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

 

[3][IMG]

 

References

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FOI (WYPCC), West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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Dear Mr Wilby

Please find attached a response to your further request for information of 17/09/2017.

Kind regards

Julie Reid

Julie Reid
Business Support Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Tel: 01924 294000
Email: [email address]

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

Dear Contact (WYPCC),

A section 50 complaint will be lodged shortly, with the Information Commissioner's Office (the ICO"), following the finalisation of the internal review on 12th October, 2017. The grounds for complaint are:

1. At para 4 of the internal review you assert:

"Members were assured that no other information, except for that identified in the response, is held by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner ("the PCC") about outside force investigations within the
timeframe specified".

(a) At para 45 of the Act the Code of Practice states that a public authority, when conducting an internal review, should consider a request afresh. By the PCC's own account that has not happened. Further, and in any event, none of the Joint Independent Audit Committee have sufficient working knowledge of the Act to undertake such a task, by conducting the appropriate and necessary searches. Simply relying on unevidenced assertions by one of the PCC's officers (presumably the same one who finalised the request) does not meet the required test.

The claim made at para 6 in the internal review response, by the PCC, in the above context, is plainly false:

"Members have noted the case referred to and the threshold criteria contained within it. This request for internal review is, however, conducted within the context of the Freedom of Information Act".

(b) This is a list of relevant 'outside force investigations' that are in my own knowledge, and with which I have had significant involvement, either as a journalist or police complaints advocate. The reasonable assumption is that, on the balance of probabilities, there are more, if appropriate searches are conducted by the PCC.

(i) Operation Barium (Lancashire Police)

(ii) Operation Garnett (Devon and Cornwall Police)

(iii) Operation Lamp 1 (Greater Manchester Police)

(iv) Operation Lamp 2 (Greater Manchester Police)

2. At para 6 of the internal review. the issue for determination was whether Magyar was engaged. My contention remains that it is, in respect of the materials so far disclosed (the Operation Lamp terms of reference), the appropriate test regarding full, as opposed to partial, disclosure.

3. At para 7 of the internal the PCC asserts that "Members have noted this statement (concerning providing accurate records), however, do not consider it within the scope of the internal review". Properly equipped with a working knowledge of the Act they would be aware that providing false (or altered) information, if proved, is 'seriously improperly conduct' and could lead to prosecution under section 77.

4. At para 8, the PCC asserts that "Members have reviewed the information held by the OPCC and are satisfied that the correct terms of reference (for Operation Lamp) were disclosed".
I maintain that the information disclosed to me is not what was agreed between myself (on behalf of the Major family) and ACC Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police as the final version of the Terms of Reference. (Those terms of reference are included with the complaint to the ICO).

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Twitter: @Neil_Wilby
Web: neilwilby.com

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