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Paedophile hunters and online grooming

We're waiting for D. Moore to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Northumbria Police,

1a. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 regarding online sexual offences of any kind related to children.

1b. Please provide a breakdown of all the sexual offences associated with these arrests:

e.g. section 8 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 10 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 12 of SOA 2003 [insert number] section 14 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; and section 15 of SOA [insert number]; section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 [insert number].

1c. Please specify the number of these arrests that involved at least one child decoy. By 'child decoy' I am referring to an adult who pretends to be a child.

2. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection with online sexual offences against children based on evidence acquired by your own officers acting as decoys.

3. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection with online sexual offences against children based on evidence provided to you by so-called paedophile hunters.

4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20.

Yours faithfully,

D Moore

D. Moore left an annotation ()

Joe Purshouse (School of Law, University of East Anglia) has written a paper that seriously questions the activities of so-called paedophile hunters. It is titled: "'Paedophile Hunters’, Criminal Procedure, and Fundamental Human Rights".

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full...

"The muted response of the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and domestic courts to paedophile hunters is failing to deter their criminality. The article ends with suggestions for reappraisal of existing legal doctrines, law reform, and more rigorous enforcement to control and, in some cases, deter paedophile hunting."

J Roberts left an annotation ()

I see the article was first published on 17th June 2020, a month before the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of someone caught by 'paedophile hunters' :

[2020] UKSC 32

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2020...

See comment dated 15 July 2020:

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

Story from the Independent:

"‘Paedophile hunters’ do not violate right to privacy, Supreme Court rules as convict's appeal dismissed"

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cr...

North Tyneside man questioned:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/IEFYVolzC... (Groom Resistor's Scotland)

North Tyneside man's first court appearance:

" District Judge Paul Currer said: "You have pleaded guilty to serious offences.

"In relation to how they're dealt with, I can't sentence you in this court because they're too serious.

"You will have to go to Newcastle Crown Court to be dealt with there.""

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor...

Other video (South Shields) :

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NgvJHzKY6... (Child Online Safety Team - COST)

More videos can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
 
Thank you for your email received today in which you make a request for
information that Northumbria Police may hold in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.
 
We are in the process of dealing with your request and a response should
be provided to you by 1 February 2021 which is in accordance with the
legislation.
 
Although every effort will be made to ensure a response is provided within
statutory deadlines, due to current circumstances delays may be
unavoidable.  We apologise for any inconvenience and will endeavour to
process your request as quickly as is practicable.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Information Management Unit
[1]www.northumbria.police.uk | [2]www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk

'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'
 
 
 

show quoted sections

D. Moore left an annotation ()

"'Paedophile hunter' evidence used to charge 150 suspects" (2017)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43...

"Strategic review of Police Scotland’s response to online child sexual abuse" (February 2020)

“Almost half of the online grooming cases emanate from the activities of online child abuse activist groups (vigilante groups), who are unregulated and untrained. A more robust proactive capability on the part of Police Scotland would reduce the opportunities for these groups to operate.” (page 5)

https://www.hmics.scot/sites/default/fil...

BBC Radio 4 programme The Untold goes on a "sting" with Leeds-based hunting group Predator Exposure:

"Six of the group went on trial accused of charges including false imprisonment and common assault. They were all found not guilty and emerged from Leeds Crown Court vowing to step up the work that they do."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hv9p

See the group in action:

https://youtu.be/_gfRmagvltk

Useful information provided by South Yorkshire Police from the Force Disclosure Log:

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

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Radio 4's File on 4 dealt with the issue of female sex offenders in "Women Who Abuse":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rcq5

The programme highlighted the case of a female groomer who was jailed in 2018. Details of her crime are available on the UK Database:

https://uk-database.net/2018/03/22/debor...

Thirty-six police forces responded to FOI requests (5th minute). The responses revealed that between 2015-19:

- there were over 10,400 reports of women sexually abusing children

- Over 5,400 reports concerned children aged 11-17

- around 3,800 reports involved children under 11

(some forces didn't provide information on ages)

A FOI request was also sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service. I have requested a copy of the response received:

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

"There is evidence more female abusers are being flagged when applying for jobs with children or vulnerable adults than are being reported to the police."

The programme also referred to research by Dr Andrea Darling, who wrote this article on female teachers who abuse pupils:

https://theconversation.com/understandin...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

CPS legal guidance regarding paedophile hunters (July 2020). Paedophile hunting groups are referred to formally as online child abuse activist groups (OCAGs):

'The term OCAGs in this context refers to individuals or groups of individuals who are members of the public using on-line activity to uncover or "catch" alleged paedophiles involved in on-line child sexual abuse or interested in meeting children for the purpose of such abuse. A wide range activity may fall under this umbrella term...'

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/on...

'Police are encouraged to seek early investigative advice (EIA) in all OCAG cases using the EIA process available in each CPS area. This will assist officers to address any complex evidential issues, to focus their investigation and to bring to an early conclusion cases which are unlikely to meet the required evidential standard.'

Recently published Home Office report titled 'Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy'.

'This ground-breaking Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition to prevent, tackle and respond to all forms of child sexual abuse.

5. Our goal is to ensure there are no safe spaces online for offenders to abuse and exploit children. Across the NCA, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), National Cyber Force (NCF) and wider law enforcement, the Home Office will invest in the development of new technological capabilities to bring more technically sophisticated offenders to justice and help our partners identify and safeguard more victims and survivors. This includes enhancing the use of the UK’s world-leading Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).'

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

1 Attachment

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

 

Thank you for your email dated 2 January 2021 in which you made a request
for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

 

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of
access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority
(including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

 

You asked:

 

1a. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 regarding
online sexual offences of any kind related to children.

 

1b. Please provide a breakdown of all the sexual offences associated with
these arrests:

e.g. section 8 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 10 of SOA 2003 [insert
number]; section 12 of SOA 2003 [insert number] section 14 of SOA 2003
[insert number]; and section 15 of SOA [insert number]; section 127 of the
Communications Act 2003 [insert number].

 

1c. Please specify the number of these arrests that involved at least one
child decoy. By 'child decoy' I am referring to an adult who pretends to
be a child.

 

2. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence acquired by
your own officers acting as decoys.

 

3. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence provided to
you by so-called paedophile hunters.

 

4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who
provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in
connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20.

 

 

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I
provide a response for your attention.

 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within
Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested
is held in part by Northumbria Police.

 

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and
complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been
extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police
purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is
subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes
and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting
those data.

 

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of
data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of
figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken
into account when those data are used.

 

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you
to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as
to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent
the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

 

The data has been taken from the central database using the arrest and
incident and crime tables.

 

Only those offences that were quoted in the example given have been
included.

 

The data was then refined using the cyber flag from the method/Means field
in the crime table.

 

Each incident has three columns for method/means .  The codes for
method/means are applied according to priority in relation to the
offence.  It is possible that method/means codes searched for relating to
this FOI have not been recorded due to other method/means codes taking
precedence, in these cases the offence will not be captured in the final
dataset.

 

With the above noted I am able to respond as follows.

 

1a&1b.

Act and Section Count
Communications Act S.127 1
SOA S.10 13
SOA S.14 3
SOA S.15 86
SOA S.8 5
Total 108

 

 

With regards to 1c and point 2 this will not be disclosed and by
withholding we rely on the following exemptions for those parts.

 

Northumbria Police neither confirms nor denies that it holds information
relevant to this request by virtue of the following exemptions.

 

Section 23(5) Information supplied by or concerning certain Security
Bodies;

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Section 40(5) Personal Information

 

Section 23 & 40 are class based absolute exemptions and there is no
requirement to consider the public interest in this case.

 

Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is
held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on
disclosure of any information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security
Bodies.

 

Section 40(5A)&(5B)(a)(i) of the Act provides:

 

(5A)The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1).

(5B) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to other
information if or to the extent that any of the following applies—

(a) giving a member of the public the confirmation or denial that would
have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a)—

(i) would (apart from this Act) contravene any of the data protection
principles

 

[1]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018...

 

Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is designed to address
information that is covered by the Data Protection Act 2018.

Under section 40(5), Northumbria Police  is not required to comply with
the requirements of section 1(1) (a) i.e. the duty to inform the applicant
whether or not the information is held.

 

In most cases Personal Data is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act as I will explain below.

 

To confirm or deny whether personal information exists could publicly
reveal information about an identifiable individual or individuals,
thereby breaching the right to privacy afforded to persons under the Data
Protection Act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
2018.

 

Where an individual is requesting his or her own personal data the
information is always exempt.  Such information can be requested under
other legislation.

Where an individual is requesting third party personal data Northumbria
Police must ensure that any action taken adheres to the principles of the
Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR.  To clarify, the Freedom of
Information Act only allows disclosure of personal data if that disclosure
would be compliant with the principles for processing personal data. 
These principles are outlined under section 34 of the DPA 2018 and under
Article 5 of the GDPR.

 

Section 31 is prejudice based and qualified and there is a requirement to
articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether
information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test. 

 

Harm

 

As you may be aware, disclosure under FOIA is a release to the public at
large. Whilst not questioning the motives of the applicant, confirming or
denying that any information is held by forces would show areas of police
vulnerability. The public expect police forces and other law enforcement
agencies to use all powers and tactics available to prevent and detect
crime or disorder and maintain public safety.  Law enforcement tactics
would be compromised which would hinder the prevention or detection of
crime if the level of use of such tactics were openly discussed. This
would impact on police resources, more crime would then be committed and
individuals placed at risk.

 

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31

 

By confirming or denying whether any relevant information is held, would
allow the public to gain a greater understanding of where public funds are
being spent.  Better public awareness may lead to more information from
the public.

 

Factors against confirmation or denial for S31

 

Confirming or denying whether any information is held in relation to this
request at this time would not be in the public interest and has potential
to undermine any ongoing investigation. This would ultimately hinder the
prevention and detection of crime. 

 

The public entrust Northumbria Police to handle information they provide
appropriately and in line with legislative guidelines, e.g. Data
Protection Act.  To reveal detail of whether or not such information is
known to the Constabulary would act as a deterrent to the public to
provide information to the force and also hinder the prevention or
detection of crime. 

 

Police forces rely on information being supplied by the public. 
Irrespective of what other information is or isn’t held, by applying
substantive exemptions would indicate that information is held and is
currently being investigated.  Such action would act as a deterrent to the
public to provide intelligence to the force which would further undermine
public safety, with repercussions that could hinder the prevention or
detection of crime. 

 

Balance

 

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying whether
information pertinent to this request exists.  The security of the country
is of paramount importance and the Police Service is charged with
enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the
communities we serve. 

 

The Police Service will not divulge whether information is or is not held
if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine
national security.  Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency
of policing operations and investigations, providing assurance that the
Police Service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat
from criminals, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding
both national security and the integrity of police operations when
delivering effective operational law enforcement to ensure the prevention
and detection of crime is carried out and the effective apprehension or
prosecution of offenders is maintained.

 

At this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the
balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that information
exists.

 

Of course no inference can be drawn from these facts that any information
does or does not exist.

 

3. 68

 

4. This will not be disclosed and by withholding we rely on the following
exemption.

Section 40 (2) - Personal Information

Section 40 (2) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no
requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure. That being said
where Section 40(2) is engaged in order to make the exemption absolute
there needs to be evidence that a data protection principle would be
breached by disclosure. In this case it would not be fair to process
information which, we believe by providing all the information you have
requested, could lead to the identification of an individual. Therefore
the first principle of the Data Protection Act would be breached.

 

 

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a
specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an
indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.
Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the
procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses
between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative
purposes.

 

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual
property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be
strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as
amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not
re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

 

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish
information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to
promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into
the public arena.

 

The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has
been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to
publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the wider
public interest.

 

The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the
requester.

 

I have provided the relevant link below.

 

[2]https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...

 

How to complain

 

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have
handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue
informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our
complaints procedure, attached.

 

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and
reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain
whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Michael Cleugh

Data Protection and Disclosure Advisor

 

[NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]

 

'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018...
2. https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

First, thank you for the useful information that you provided. I wish you, however, to review your decision to engage section 40 with regard to my fourth request:

'4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20'

I am asking not for personal information but for the names of so-called paedophile hunting groups. If your view is that the names of group members could be revealed as a consequence of my request, that is something I contest. These groups livestream their activities on Facebook for the whole world to see. Publicity is exactly what they want in their attempts to protect children from paedophiles.

Newcastle - Secret Whispers UK

https://www.bitchute.com/video/vFVHBAzf6...

Newcastle - The Soloceptors

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NOk8BV2ZI...

Newcastle - Confronted and Caught

https://www.bitchute.com/video/fZlsq9XU7...

Newcastle - Guardians of the North

https://www.bitchute.com/video/nZ5Rv5zbo...

Newcastle - geordie chasers

https://www.bitchute.com/video/ytn5uquyv...

Newcastle - Groom Resisters Scotland

https://www.bitchute.com/video/IEFYVolzC...

Newcastle - Catching Online Predators (COP)

Newcastle - STOP

https://www.bitchute.com/video/EXPkirMU5...

Newcastle - Dark Justice

https://www.bitchute.com/video/CHdY2rvQR...

Newcastle - Child Online Safety Team (COST)

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NgvJHzKY6...

Furthermore, it is not evident from your response that you have asked the groups concerned whether they would object to having their names disclosed.

Another reason for disclosing the names of the groups concerned is that their activities have criticised by the authorities. Consider, for example, this report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland titled 'Strategic review of Police Scotland’s response to online child sexual abuse':

https://www.hmics.scot/sites/default/fil...

'Almost half of the online grooming cases emanate from the activities of online child abuse activist groups (vigilante groups), who are unregulated and untrained. A more robust proactive capability on the part of Police Scotland would reduce the opportunities for these groups to operate.' (page 5)

If the public knew the names of these groups, then they would know that they are 'unregulated' and 'untrained'. As things stand, the public may believe that such groups are an arm of the state and consequently approach them rather than the police for assistance. The personal details of suspects, and in some cases children, would then be disseminated to groups deemed unregulated and untrained. Instead of protecting personal information by invoking section 40, you may in fact be doing the opposite.

Yours sincerely,

D. Moore

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

Dear D Moore
Thank you for your e mail.

We shall revisit point 4 to review our original response.
Once we have done so we shall get back to you.
Due to current circumstances we are unable to state when this may be but we shall, of course, endeavour to do so as soon as practicable.

Regards
FOI Team

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

1 Attachment

Please see out revised response to this one .

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

 

Thank you for your email dated 2 January 2021 in which you made a request
for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

 

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of
access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority
(including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

 

You asked:

 

1a. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 regarding
online sexual offences of any kind related to children.

 

1b. Please provide a breakdown of all the sexual offences associated with
these arrests:

e.g. section 8 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 10 of SOA 2003 [insert
number]; section 12 of SOA 2003 [insert number] section 14 of SOA 2003
[insert number]; and section 15 of SOA [insert number]; section 127 of the
Communications Act 2003 [insert number].

 

1c. Please specify the number of these arrests that involved at least one
child decoy. By 'child decoy' I am referring to an adult who pretends to
be a child.

 

2. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence acquired by
your own officers acting as decoys.

 

3. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence provided to
you by so-called paedophile hunters.

 

4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who
provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in
connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20.

 

 

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I
provide a response for your attention.

 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within
Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested
is held in part by Northumbria Police.

 

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and
complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been
extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police
purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is
subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes
and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting
those data.

 

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of
data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of
figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken
into account when those data are used.

 

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you
to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as
to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent
the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

 

The data has been taken from the central database using the arrest and
incident and crime tables.

 

Only those offences that were quoted in the example given have been
included.

 

The data was then refined using the cyber flag from the method/Means field
in the crime table.

 

Each incident has three columns for method/means . The codes for
method/means are applied according to priority in relation to the offence.
It is possible that method/means codes searched for relating to this FOI
have not been recorded due to other method/means codes taking precedence,
in these cases the offence will not be captured in the final dataset.

 

With the above noted I am able to respond as follows.

 

1a & 1b.

+--------------------------------------------------------+
| Act and Section | Count |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
|Communications Act S.127 | 1 |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
|SOA S.10 | 13 |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
|SOA S.14 | 3 |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
|SOA S.15 | 86 |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
|SOA S.8 | 5 |
|----------------------------------------+---------------|
| Total | 108 |
+--------------------------------------------------------+

 

 

1c & 2.  With regards to these points this will not be disclosed and by
withholding we rely on the following exemptions for those parts.

 

Northumbria Police neither confirms nor denies that it holds information
relevant to this request by virtue of the following exemptions.

 

Section 23(5) Information supplied by or concerning certain Security
Bodies;

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Section 40(5) Personal Information

 

Section 23 & 40 are class based absolute exemptions and there is no
requirement to consider the public interest in this case.

 

Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is
held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on
disclosure of any information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security
Bodies.

 

Section 40(5A)&(5B)(a)(i) of the Act provides:

 

(5A)The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of subsection (1).

(5B) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to other
information if or to the extent that any of the following applies—

(a) giving a member of the public the confirmation or denial that would
have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a)—

(i) would (apart from this Act) contravene any of the data protection
principles

     

[1]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018...

 

Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is designed to address
information that is covered by the Data Protection Act 2018.

Under section 40(5), Northumbria Police is not required to comply with the
requirements of section 1(1) (a) i.e. the duty to inform the applicant
whether or not the information is held.

 

In most cases Personal Data is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act as I will explain below.

 

To confirm or deny whether personal information exists could publicly
reveal information about an identifiable individual or individuals,
thereby breaching the right to privacy afforded to persons under the Data
Protection Act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
2018.

 

Where an individual is requesting his or her own personal data the
information is always exempt. Such information can be requested under
other legislation.

 

Where an individual is requesting third party personal data Northumbria
Police must ensure that any action taken adheres to the principles of the
Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR. To clarify, the Freedom of
Information Act only allows disclosure of personal data if that disclosure
would be compliant with the principles for processing personal data. These
principles are outlined under section 34 of the DPA 2018 and under Article
5 of the GDPR.

 

Section 31 is prejudice based and qualified and there is a requirement to
articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether
information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test.

 

Harm

 

As you may be aware, disclosure under FOIA is a release to the public at
large. Whilst not questioning the motives of the applicant, confirming or
denying that any information is held by forces would show areas of police
vulnerability. The public expect police forces and other law enforcement
agencies to use all powers and tactics available to prevent and detect
crime or disorder and maintain public safety. Law enforcement tactics
would be compromised which would hinder the prevention or detection of
crime if the level of use of such tactics were openly discussed. This
would impact on police resources, more crime would then be committed and
individuals placed at risk.

 

Public interest Test

 

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31

 

By confirming or denying whether any relevant information is held, would
allow the public to gain a greater understanding of where public funds are
being spent. Better public awareness may lead to more information from the
public.

 

Factors against confirmation or denial for S31

 

Confirming or denying whether any information is held in relation to this
request at this time would not be in the public interest and has potential
to undermine any ongoing investigation. This would ultimately hinder the
prevention and detection of crime.

 

The public entrust Northumbria Police to handle information they provide
appropriately and in line with legislative guidelines, e.g. Data
Protection Act. To reveal detail of whether or not such information is
known to the Constabulary would act as a deterrent to the public to
provide information to the force and also hinder the prevention or
detection of crime.

 

Police forces rely on information being supplied by the public.
Irrespective of what other information is or isn’t held, by applying
substantive exemptions would indicate that information is held and is
currently being investigated. Such action would act as a deterrent to the
public to provide intelligence to the force which would further undermine
public safety, with repercussions that could hinder the prevention or
detection of crime.

 

Balance Test

 

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying whether
information pertinent to this request exists. The security of the country
is of paramount importance and the Police Service is charged with
enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the
communities we serve.

 

The Police Service will not divulge whether information is or is not held
if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine
national security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency
of policing operations and investigations, providing assurance that the
Police Service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat
from criminals, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding
both national security and the integrity of police operations when
delivering effective operational law enforcement to ensure the prevention
and detection of crime is carried out and the effective apprehension or
prosecution of offenders is maintained.

 

At this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the
balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that information
exists.

 

Of course no inference can be drawn from these facts that any information
does or does not exist.

 

3.   68

 

4.

+------------------------------------------+
| Paedophile Hunting Group |
|------------------------------------------|
|APEX |
|------------------------------------------|
|Child Online Safety Team |
|------------------------------------------|
|Children's innocence matters |
|------------------------------------------|
|Children's Warriors |
|------------------------------------------|
|Civillian Child Protection Unit |
|------------------------------------------|
|Dark Angels |
|------------------------------------------|
|Dark Justice |
|------------------------------------------|
|Geordie Chasers |
|------------------------------------------|
|Groom Resisters Scotland |
|------------------------------------------|
|Guardians of the North |
|------------------------------------------|
|Innocent Voices |
|------------------------------------------|
|Keeping Kids Safe |
|------------------------------------------|
|Pest |
|------------------------------------------|
|Safeguarding Kids Online |
|------------------------------------------|
|Scale of Justice |
|------------------------------------------|
|Sole operator |
|------------------------------------------|
|Not stated |
+------------------------------------------+

 

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a
specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an
indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.
Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the
procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses
between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative
purposes.

 

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual
property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be
strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as
amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not
re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

 

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish
information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to
promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into
the public arena.

 

The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has
been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to
publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the wider
public interest.

 

The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the
requester.

 

I have provided the relevant link below.

 

[2]https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...

 

How to complain

 

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have
handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue
informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our
complaints procedure, attached.

 

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and
reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain
whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Michael Cleugh

Data Protection and Disclosure Advisor

 

[NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018...
2. https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...

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