Referrals to Channel

Kevin Blowe made this Freedom of Information request to Greater Manchester Police

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 Greater Manchester Police.

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Please can you tell me the number of referrals made since January 2915 through the multi-agency counter-radicalisation 'Channel' process that were made specifically for individuals allegedly at risk of being drawn into 'extremism' through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns?

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Greater Manchester Police

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In response to:




Freedom of Information request - Referrals to Channel

Kevin Blowe
to:
FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
19/10/2015 14:54
Show Details

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Please can you tell me the number of referrals made since January 2915
through the multi-agency counter-radicalisation 'Channel' process that were
made specifically for individuals allegedly at risk of being drawn into
'extremism' through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns?

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #297533 email]

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-------------------------------------------------------------------

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Greater Manchester Police

Dear Mr Blowe,

Can you please confirm that your request in fact covers January 2015 to
date and that below is a typo.

Many thanks

David Kynaston
Information Compliance & Records Management Unit

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297533 email]>
To: FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
<[Greater Manchester Police request email]>
Date: 19/10/2015 14:54
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Referrals to Channel

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Please can you tell me the number of referrals made since January 2915
through the multi-agency counter-radicalisation 'Channel' process that
were made specifically for individuals allegedly at risk of being drawn
into 'extremism' through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns?

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #297533 email]

Is [Greater Manchester Police request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to Greater Manchester Police? If so, please contact
us using this form:
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
Manchester Police for a less urgent matter call 101.
For the latest news and information about your Neighbourhood Policing Team
visit www.gmp.police.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/gmpolice or find us on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/GtrManchesterPolice , Flickr: www.flickr.com/gmpolice1 or
YouTube: www.youtube.com/gmpolice

You can find your local policing team on social media at
www.gmp.police.uk/socialmedia.
Download our smartphone app from the App Store or Google Play
www.gmp.police.uk/apps

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Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Apologies for the delay: yes I can confirm that the date in my request was a typing error and should have read January 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Please could you give me an indication when you expect to be able to respond to my request?

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Greater Manchester Police

Good afternoon Mr Blowe,

Thank you for your email.

Although your original email was received on 19/10/2015 we asked for
clarification as to the time period you were requesting the information
for. Your clarification wasn't received until 10/11/2015 and so we were
only able to log your request on that later day.

The 20 working day deadline is therefore 08/12/15 and we hope to be able
to response to you before then.

Kind regards

David Kynaston
Information Compliance & Records Management Unit

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297533 email]>
To: <[email address]>
Date: 24/11/2015 10:08
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Referrals to Channel

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Dear Greater Manchester Police,
   
    Please could you give me an indication when you expect to be able
    to respond to my request?
   
    Yours faithfully,
   
    Kevin Blowe
   
   

show quoted sections

Greater Manchester Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Kevin Blowe,

Please see attached response.

Regards

Caroline

Caroline Barker
Information Compliance and Records Management Unit
Information Services Branch - Business Operations
Greater Manchester Police
c/o Openshaw Complex, Lawton Street, Manchester M11 2NS

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297533 email]>
To: <[email address]>
Date: 10/11/2015 13:53
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Referrals to Channel

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Apologies for the delay: yes I can confirm that the date in my request was
a typing error and should have read January 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

show quoted sections

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Greater Manchester Police's handling of my FOI request 'Referrals to Channel'.

In your response, you said that publishing specific Channel data would “provide information to those who seek to challenge the process”, adding that “allegations of ‘spying in the community’ and ‘targeting Muslims’ misrepresent and undermine the intention of Channel and ultimately the Prevent programme”. This response are particularly strange, as I had not mentioned the targeting of Muslim communities and my question had been specifically about anti-fracking campaigns.

You also said that the release of data could also potentially lead to local partner organisations “disengaging from the referral process” if they are named. Again, as you will note, I had not requested the names of any organisation or any individual that might perhaps provide a link to an organisation.

You also insisted that “figures on the associations of participants, when compiled, may fuel perceived grievances such as the view that certain groups are being targeted.” Bearing in mind that Channel is purportedly a voluntary process, this is positively Kafkaesque: in the context of my specific request about opponents of fracking, this argument means individuals cannot know to what extent their political beliefs and activism leads to referrals to Channel as possible 'domestic extremism', because they might feel understandably aggrieved at finding out their lawful political activity has been targeted.

As I am sure you are already aware, similar requests were made to the other four forces that are part of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit. The responses from all five forces were identical and all ignored the fact that my inquiry was not generalised to Prevent as a whole but very specific – my question was not about 'terrorism' but concerned particularly with individuals' involvement in political opposition to oil and gas exploration and extraction.

The standardised nature of all five responses to questions on Channel strongly suggests individual Freedom of Information requests on this subject are not considered on their merits or on a genuine test of the public interest by the five police forces. Instead, there is evidently a policy of automatic rejection of any FOIA request relating to Channel.

I therefore believe you have failed to carry out a proper public interest test at all in relation to my question on Channel, evidenced by the uniformity of all replies from North West regional police forces, including your own, that contain explanations unrelated to the original question and that point to a joint policy of immediate refusal.

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

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Greater Manchester Police

Dear Mr Blowe

This email is to acknowledge your request for an internal review in
relation to your Freedom of Information request.

Your request has been forwarded to the relevant section of this unit for
processing.

Many thanks

Amanda Ratcliffe
Information Compliance & Records Management Assistant

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297533 email]>
To: FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
<[Greater Manchester Police request email]>
Date: 03/02/2016 15:36
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Referrals to
Channel

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Dear Greater Manchester Police,
   
    Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
    Information reviews.
   
    I am writing to request an internal review of Greater Manchester
    Police's handling of my FOI request 'Referrals to Channel'.
   
    In your response, you said that publishing specific Channel data
    would “provide information to those who seek to challenge the
    process”, adding that “allegations of ‘spying in the community’ and
    ‘targeting Muslims’ misrepresent and undermine the intention of
    Channel and ultimately the Prevent programme”. This response are
    particularly strange, as I had not mentioned the targeting of
    Muslim communities and my question had been specifically about
    anti-fracking campaigns.
   
    You also said that the release of data could also potentially lead
    to local partner organisations “disengaging from the referral
    process” if they are named. Again, as you will note, I had not
    requested the names of any organisation or any individual that
    might perhaps provide a link to an organisation.
   
    You also insisted that “figures on the associations of
    participants, when compiled, may fuel perceived grievances such as
    the view that certain groups are being targeted.” Bearing in mind
    that Channel is purportedly a voluntary process, this is positively
    Kafkaesque: in the context of my specific request about opponents
    of fracking, this argument means individuals cannot know to what
    extent their political beliefs and activism leads to referrals to
    Channel as possible 'domestic extremism', because they might feel
    understandably aggrieved at finding out their lawful political
    activity has been targeted.
   
    As I am sure you are already aware, similar requests were made to
    the other four forces that are part of the North West Counter
    Terrorism Unit. The responses from all five forces were identical
    and all ignored the fact that my inquiry was not generalised to
    Prevent as a whole but very specific – my question was not about
    'terrorism' but concerned particularly with individuals'
    involvement in political opposition to oil and gas exploration and
    extraction.
   
    The standardised nature of all five responses to questions on
    Channel strongly suggests individual Freedom of Information
    requests on this subject are not considered on their merits or on a
    genuine test of the public interest by the five police forces.
    Instead, there is evidently a policy of automatic rejection of any
    FOIA request relating to Channel.
   
    I therefore believe you have failed to carry out a proper public
    interest test at all in relation to my question on Channel,
    evidenced by the uniformity of all replies from North West regional
    police forces, including your own, that contain explanations
    unrelated to the original question and that point to a joint policy
    of immediate refusal.
   
    A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
    available on the Internet at this address:
    [1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...
   
    Yours faithfully,
   
    Kevin Blowe
   
   
   
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
    [FOI #297533 email]
   
    Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
    published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
    [2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
   
    For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read
    the latest advice from the ICO:
    [3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
   
    If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your
    web manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
   
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
Manchester Police for a less urgent matter call 101.
For the latest news and information about your Neighbourhood Policing Team
visit www.gmp.police.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/gmpolice or find us on Facebook:
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YouTube: www.youtube.com/gmpolice

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www.gmp.police.uk/socialmedia.
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Greater Manchester Police

Dear Mr Blowe,

 

I write in response to your request for a review dated 2nd February 2016
of the handling of your Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) request
dated 1st June 2015.

 

In your request for review you have expressed dissatisfaction with the
response to your FOI request caused by the application of exemptions. You
state that you made the same request to other police forces and have
received consistent responses indicating that there is evidently a policy
of automatic rejection of any FOIA request relating to Channel and that
that your inquiry was not generalised to Prevent as a whole and not about
'terrorism' but specifically concerned with individuals' involvement in
political opposition to oil and gas exploration and extraction.

 

A review of the handling of an FOI requests involves assessing all steps
in the processing of a request for compliance with the FOI and aims to
identify potential improvements in the processing of future FOI requests
and/or take corrective actions where necessary.

 

You have requested the following information;

 

‘… tell me the number of referrals made since January 2015 through the
multi-agency counter-radicalisation 'Channel' process that were made
specifically for individuals allegedly at risk of being drawn into
'extremism' through involvement in anti-fracking campaigns?’

 

Initially I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to you.
The response to your request cited exemptions 24(2) National Security and
Section 31(3) Law enforcement to all requested information.

 

Following a review of your request, I have upheld the use of the
abovementioned exemptions and justification given in balancing factors for
and against disclosure, accounting for the public interest.  To explain
further; due to its very nature information relating to intervention for
safeguarding and prevention or detection of crime is highly sensitive,
known to a select few authorised persons and requires thorough risk
assessment when considered for disclosure.

 

I appreciate that you are requesting statistical data relating to
referrals made to Channel, as described in the response to your request,
Channel is a key element of the Prevent strategy, which is a multi-agency
early intervention approach to protect people at risk from radicalisation
and from being drawn into committing terrorist related activity before
illegality occurs.

 

The response to your request cited exemptions Section 24.2. National
security, whereby we are not obliged to comply with our obligations under
1.1(a) for reasons connected with safeguarding National Security and
Section 31.3 whereby a duty to confirm or deny the existence of the
requested information does not arise should doing so prejudice our duties
noted in subsection 1 of the same.

 

For further clarification, assuming a hypothetical situation where it is
confirmed that the requested information exists, and the information was
disclosed under the FOI, disclosure would furnish any person with intent
with the scope and limitations of CTU operations and information
concerning CTU resource allocation, and prioritisation. Furthermore, your
request is in relation to an isolated event, and fortunately, the vast
majority of people do not qualify for referral, ultimately suggesting that
should the requested data exist, the volumes referred are likely to be
low, in such circumstances, a low volume risks the identification of the
referred, the referrer or any associated partner agencies and possibly
lead to the withdrawal of the individual concerned from the support plan
and possibly towards avoidable harm. When considering other social and
demographic variables alongside the scope, limitations, individuals and
agencies concerned creates valuable intelligence that can be incorporated
into any radicalisation plan, thus rendering Channel ineffective and
placing the public into undue risk; therefore confirmation or denial of
the information would be contrary to our duties noted under Section 31 in
particular subsection 1 point (a) Prevention and detection of crime. That
your request covers a number of Police areas, abovementioned implications
are extended to a national scale where the creation of intelligence  could
be contrary to national counter terror efforts, therefore engaging Section
24.2 National Security exemption from our obligations under Section 1.1 of
the FOI.

 

Factors favouring disclosure such as providing assurances to the public of
the impact and effectiveness of counter terror strategies have been
considered as part of this review, however considering the points in the
aforementioned paragraph explaining the impact of disclosure on our duties
and the public and that your request covers a number of Force areas to the
same information, I conclude this review by confirming that the public
interest is best served by neither confirming nor denying that the 
requested information is held by GMP by virtue of Section 31.3 Law
enforcement and Section 24.2 National security.

 

I appreciate the outcome of the review of your request may not be to your
satisfaction however I hope this email has helped to clarify the initial
response clarifying that the initial response is based on the requested
information and in accordance with the FOI not generalised across Forces,
if not you may refer the matter to the ICO whose details are noted below:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Phone:  01625 545 700

 

[1]http://ico.org.uk/

 

Should you have any further queries in relation to your request or related
matters, please do not hesitate to correspond with me using the contact
details below.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Khalid Mahmood
Information Compliance & Records Management Officer
Information Services Branch - Information Management
Greater Manchester Police

Postal Address: c/o Openshaw Complex, Lawton Street, Openshaw, Manchester,
M11 2NS

 

Tel: 0161 856 9924 

Ext: 69924 

[mobile number]        

Follow us on Twitter: @gmpolice

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To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
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Greater Manchester Police

1 Attachment

Dear Kevin,

 

My sincerest apologies for the delays with this response.

 

This response was originally sent out 1^st August however due to the time
that had elapsed since the original request, the What do they know page
had been closed to further correspondents.

 

This should now have been rectified, therefore please find attached GMP’s
response to your FOI request.

 

Kind regards

 

Rachael Bigland

Information Compliance & Records Management Unit

 

Information Services Branch
Greater Manchester Police

 

 

From: Freedom of Information
Sent: 01 August 2018 11:27
To: '[FOI #297533 email]'
Subject: FOI response GSA 1903/18

 

Dear Kevin,

 

Please find attached GMP’s response to your FOI response following the
tribunal ruling.

 

Kind regards

Rachael Bigland

Information Compliance & Records Management Unit

 

Information Services Branch
Greater Manchester Police

 

To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
Manchester Police for a less urgent matter call 101.
For the latest news and information about your Neighbourhood Policing Team
visit www.gmp.police.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/gmpolice or find us on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/GtrManchesterPolice , Flickr: www.flickr.com/gmpolice1 or
YouTube: www.youtube.com/gmpolice

You can find your local policing team on social media at
www.gmp.police.uk/socialmedia.
Download our smartphone app from the App Store or Google Play
www.gmp.police.uk/apps

This e mail carries a disclaimer, a copy of which may be read at:
   
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