Police Officer Posts Directly Funded by the Home Office

Richard Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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

The request was refused by Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Dear Cambridgeshire Constabulary,

A recent FOI response from Cambridgeshire Police stated a chief inspector, a sergeant and seven police constables were funded directly by the Home Office.

http://www.cambs.police.uk/about/foi/dis...

Could you please release information detailing why these posts are funded directly (presumably not via Cambridgeshire Police Authority) and how, if at all, the terms under which these posts are funded restrict how the officers can be deployed.

If the officers are members of particular national or local groups/units could you please provide the group/unit names.

If the relevant documentation requires redaction then in order to save time and effort I would be happy with the release of just titles and executive summaries of any documents describing the grants.

--

Richard Taylor
Cambridge
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0579/2011

We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request which
was received by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 17th October 2011.

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. You will receive a response within the statutory
timescale of twenty working days as defined by the Act. In some
circumstances, we may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this is the
case, you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the earliest
opportunity.

If we require any further clarification regarding this request, you will
be notified.

We would advise you that the nature of certain requests may involve
payment of a fee. If this is the case, you will be notified.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
telephone on 0345 456 456 4 asking for the Information Access Office or
email [Cambridgeshire Constabulary request email]

Regards

David

David Price
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0579/2011

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 17th October 2011.

I regret to inform you that Cambridgeshire Constabulary have not been able
to complete its response to your request by the date originally stated.

The FOI Act 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 Section 1 (1)(a) of the Act, which is
our duty to confirm or deny whether the information requested is held and
secondly we must comply with section 1(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 a 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
undermined.

In this case we have not yet reached a decision on where the balance of
the public interest lies in respect of either of the above obligations. We
estimate that it will take an additional 20 working days to take a
decision on where this balance lies. Therefore, we plan to let you have a
response by 8th December 2011. If it appears that it will take longer than
this to reach a conclusion you will be kept informed.

The specific exemptions which are being considered i in relation to your
request are the following:

S23 Information supplied or concerning certain security bodies; this is an
Absolute, class based exemption;
S24 National Security; a qualified, prejudice-based exemption;
S30 Law Enforcement; also a qualified, prejudice-based exemption; and
S40 Personal Information; an Absolute class-based exemption.

I can assure you that every effort will be made to ensure an appropriate
response will be made within this new timescale.

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

(See attached file: Complaint Rights May-11.pdf)

May I apologise for any inconvenience caused. Should you wish to discuss
this matter please write or contact the Information Access Office on
telephone number 03454564564 Ext 8164 quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

David Price
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Richard

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0579/2011

In reply to your request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, dated 15th October 2011 and received in the constabulary as
follows:

A recent FOI response from Cambridgeshire Police stated a chief inspector,
a sergeant and seven police constables were funded directly by the Home
Office.

[1]http://www.cambs.police.uk/about/foi/dis...
1. Could you please release information detailing

a. why these posts are funded directly (presumably not via Cambridgeshire
Police Authority) and

b. how, if at all, the terms under which these posts are funded restrict
how the officers can be deployed.
2. If the officers are members of particular national or local
groups/units could you please provide the group/unit names.

3. If the relevant documentation requires redaction then in order to save
time and effort I would be happy with the release of just titles and
executive summaries of any documents describing the grants.

Please note that I have added question numbers to your request in order to
aid clarity in my response.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) requires us to handle all
requests in a manner that is blind to the identity of the requestor. Any
information released in response to a request is regarded as being
published, and therefore in the public domain without caveat.

We have completed all searches within Cambridgeshire Constabulary and
hereby enclose your response.

In respect of question 1b, we can advise that the officers who are funded
in this way are available for deployment in response during times of
exceptional demand - for example in response to a major or critical
incident, riot or civil disobedience. Funding for the posts is dependent
upon the officers carrying out those roles for which funding has been
agreed.

In respect of the remainder of your questions, Section 1 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties on public authorities.
Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at Section 1(1)(a) is to confirm
or deny whether the information specified in a request is held. The second
duty at Section 1(1)(b) is to disclose information that has been confirmed
as being held. Where exemptions are relied upon Section 17 of FOIA
requires that we provide the applicant with a notice which: a) states that
fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in question and c) state (if that would
not otherwise be apparent) why the exemptions apply:

Cambridgeshire Constabulary neither confirms nor denies that it holds any
other information relevant to the request by virtue of Section 23(5)
Information supplied by or concerning certain Security Bodies; Section
24(2) National Security; Section 30(3) Investigations and Section 31(3)
Law Enforcement.

Section 23(5) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no
requirement to articulate the harm to the applicant or consider the public
interest and articulate those findings to the applicant.

Section 30(3) is a class based qualified exemption which means the
legislators have identified a requirement to consider and articulate the
public interest to the applicant.

With Sections 24(2), and 31(3) being prejudice based and qualified, the
harm (prejudice) in disclosure should be evidenced and the public interest
considered, and both articulated to the applicant.

Evidence of Harm

In order to counter national and international criminal and terrorist
behaviour to ensure effective delivery of operational law enforcement, it
is vital that the United Kingdom Police Service and other authorities have
the ability to work together, where necessary covertly, in order to obtain
intelligence within current legislative frameworks.

In order to achieve this goal, officers are regularly seconded to or
funded by other authorities to ensure skills, intelligence and
investigative tools are shared, which may include information relating to
exempt bodies as detailed within Section 23(3) of the FOIA.

To confirm or deny that any other information pertinent to this request is
held would be extremely useful to those involved in criminal/terrorist
activity as it would enable them to map where exempt bodies are currently
actively carrying out investigations. Such awareness would enable
individuals, subject of the investigative activity, to evade detection and
surveillance much more effectively.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 24

Factors favouring confirmation that information is held

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and resources
are distributed within an area of policing. To confirm whether any other
information is held relating to this request would enable the general
public to hold the force to account on the way in which they deploy
resources. In the current financial climate of cuts and with the call for
transparency of public spending this would enable improved public debate.

Factors favouring denial that information is held

Security measures are put in place to protect the community that we serve.
As evidenced within the harm to confirm where whether any other
information relevant to this request is/is not held would highlight to
terrorists and individuals intent on carrying out criminal activity
vulnerabilities within the Police Services in this country.

Taking into account the current security climate within the United
Kingdom, no information (such as the citing of an exemption which confirms
any other information pertinent to this request is held, or conversely,
stating ‘no information is held’) which may aid a terrorist should be
disclosed. To what extent this information may aid a terrorist is unknown,
but it is clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to
monitor terrorist activity.

Irrespective of what information is or isn’t held, the public entrust the
Police Service to make appropriate decisions with regard to their safety
and protection and the only way of reducing risk is to be cautious with
what is placed into the public domain.

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various
sources would be even more impactive when linked to other information
gathered from various sources about terrorism. The more information that
is disclosed over time will provide a detailed account of the tactical
infrastructure of not only a force area but also the country as a whole.

Any incident that results from such a disclosure would by default affect
National Security.

Section 30/31

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) (to confirm information
is held)

As stated above there is information within the public domain confirming
that officers are funded by other authorities.

Factors favouring not complying with Section 1(1)(a) (neither confirm nor
deny information is held)

The release of this information could compromise any ongoing criminal
investigations, potentially even undermining covert operations by
revealing where exempt bodies are currently active. Therefore, if it is
confirmed whether or not any other information is held the capability to
prevent such activity would be compromised and may lead to an increase in
criminal activity.

The safety of the public is of paramount importance to the policing
purpose, and an increase in crime would place the public at greater risk
of harm.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying the
requested information exists. The Police Service is charged with enforcing
the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we
serve. As part of that purpose, information is gathered which can be
highly sensitive. Irrespective of what other information may or may not be
held, confirmation or denial that any other information is held relating
to seconded or funded officers, associated costs and detail of the reason
why officers are funded would reveal investigative activity.

Weakening the mechanisms used to monitor any type of criminal activity,
and specifically national and international terrorist activity would place
the security of the country at an increased level of danger.

Information disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act is made public
to the world when released and has an impact on all areas of the country,
not just within the jurisdiction of one public authority. FOIA responses
are regularly published by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on it's website as
part of its Disclosure Scheme and these disclosures are then picked up by
local and national news agencies as well as being distributed by third
parties on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. A series of
disclosures for this information would mean that terrorists and criminals
would be able to build up a picture of where such technology was deployed
throughout the whole country. Disclosure at a national level would
encourage those with criminal intent to relocate and intensify their
activities to areas where ‘vulnerabilities’ have been identified.

From the arguments articulated above it is clear that confirmation that
other information is held could enable a ‘mosaic of data’ to be drawn up
revealing to members of the criminal fraternity investigative activity and
resources.

Having considered all the factors, at this moment in time, it is our
opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming
nor denying that any other information is held pertinent to this request.

If you are unhappy with this response, please see the attachment below,
which sets out your rights to appeal.

(See attached file: Complaint Rights May-11.pdf)

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Access Office via email, or on telephone number
0345 456 456 4 extension 8164,

Regards

David

David Price
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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References

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1. http://www.cambs.police.uk/about/foi/dis...