Special Constables placing themselves on duty

[name removed] made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

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 Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

I request the following

1 Please can you explain what IBO means in the context of the following.

"When off duty in circumstances that require them to exercise their powers as a Constable. In these circumstances the IBO must be contacted through the Central Communications Command in order that the relevant MSC Manager (regular Police Sergeant) is notified as soon as
it is practicable to do so. In addition, a report of any such act must be made as soon as possible to the MSC Manager."

2 Does the MPS keep records of contacts to the the IBO and MSCs by off-duty special constables who place themselves on duty?

3 If the answer to 2 is yes is the MSC able to state how many occasions there have been in the last 3 months where special constables have placed themselves on duty because they consider that somebody may have stolen goods from their (the constables) employer?

4 If the answer to 3 is yes please supply details

I note from your previous reply that you are threatening to brand my FOI requets on this subjects vexatious. I do not know why this should be as you answered my previous request almost in full and these are not repeat questions. If you do not hold the information or it would take too long to obtain it it is a very simple matter fopr you to say so. I would have thought that by the judgement of most reasonable people my enquiries are reasonable and in the public interest. I would suggest that any attempt to deter me by threatening to brand such requests for information as vexatious suggest that this is an area where the Metropolitan Police Service wish to conceal something and so may undermine public trust in the integrity of the Metropolitan Police

I appreciate that I have asked related questions on 23rd February and am happy that if this request in any way overlaps with that the overlapping parts are deleted from this request.

Yours faithfully,

[name removed] [name removed]

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr. [name removed]

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012030001361
I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 11/03/2012.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

"I request the following
     
1 Please can you explain what IBO means in the context of the following.
     
"When off duty in circumstances that require them to exercise their powers
as a Constable. In these circumstances the IBO must be
contacted through the Central Communications Command in order that the
relevant MSC Manager (regular Police Sergeant) is notified as soon as it
is practicable to do so. In addition, a report of any such act must be
made as soon as possible to the MSC Manager."
     
2 Does the MPS keep records of contacts to the the IBO and MSCs by
off-duty special constables who place themselves on duty?
     
3 If the answer to 2 is yes is the MSC able to state how many occasions
there have been in the last 3 months where special    constables have
placed themselves on duty because they consider that somebody may have
stolen goods from their (the constables)
employer?
     
4 If the answer to 3 is yes please supply details
     
I note from your previous reply that you are threatening to brand my FOI
requets on this subjects vexatious. I do not know why this
should be as you answered my previous request almost in full and these are
not repeat questions. If you do not hold the information
or it would take too long to obtain it it is a very simple matter fopr you
to say so. I would have thought that by the judgement of
most reasonable people my enquiries are reasonable and in the public
interest. I would suggest that any attempt to deter me by
threatening to brand such requests for information as vexatious suggest
that this is an area where the Metropolitan Police Service
wish to conceal something and so may undermine public trust in the
integrity of the Metropolitan Police
     
I appreciate that I have asked related questions on 23rd February and am
happy that if this request in any way overlaps with that the
overlapping parts are deleted from this request."

Your request 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 MPS 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.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

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

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

R. Loizou
Policy and Support Officer
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr [name removed],

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012030001361

I write in connection with your following request for information which
was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS):

"1. Please can you explain what IBO means in the context of the following.
     
"When off duty in circumstances that require them to exercise their powers
as a Constable. In these circumstances the IBO must be contacted through
the Central Communications Command in order that the relevant MSC Manager
(regular Police Sergeant) is notified as soon as it is practicable to do
so. In addition, a report of any such act must be made as soon as possible
to the MSC Manager."
     
2. Does the MPS keep records of contacts to the IBO and MSC's by off-duty
special constables who place themselves on duty?
     
3. If the answer to 2 is yes is the MSC able to state how many occasions
there have been in the last 3 months where special constables have placed
themselves on duty because they consider that somebody may have stolen
goods from their (the constables) employer?
     
 4. If the answer to 3 is yes please supply details."

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to
your request within the cost threshold.  

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter
therefore acts as a Refusal Notice. Please see the legal annex at the end
of this response for the relevant extracts of the legislation which apply.

We estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the
appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations
and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate
of £42.11 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information,
and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

This is based upon receiving the following response from the Metropolitan
Special Constabulary Operational Command Unit which is part of Territorial
Policing Headquarters:

The recording of off-duty arrests or incidents involving a Special
Constable are very much dependant and incumbent upon the individual
involved to record the information themselves. To clarify this point, not
all Special Constables who need to place themselves on duty would
necessarily contact the IBO (Integrated Borough Operations) or contact
their MSC Manager (regular Sergeant) as soon as it is practicable to do
so. It is a reasonable assumption that this policy is unfortunately not
always followed. The recording of such information may take many forms.
For example:

A pocketbook entry after the incident has occurred;
A statement completed;
A Computer Aided Dispatch message created;
A crime report created;
An entry created on the online booking on/off duty computer system to show
the times the individual was engaged on duty for the purposes of dealing
with an arrest/incident.

There are currently 5,537 Special Constables in the MPS including those
undergoing recruit training and to interrogate all the recording systems
mentioned above for each of these officers would exceed the 18 hours to
ascertain whether any relevant information was held pertinent to your
request, and then to locate, retrieve and extract the requested
information. It would require each pocketbook to be examined, a search
conducted for the storage of statements and various IT systems
interrogated to extract the information that is held.

Assuming that it would take one MSC Manager per borough one hour to search
all documented forms as mentioned above for each officer (a conservative
estimate given the amount of manual searches required), then this would
take approximately 177,184 hours.

Therefore, the information that you have requested in Questions 2-4 is
exempt by virtue of Section 12(2) of the Act, as to even ascertain whether
or not this information is held would exceed the 18 hours specified by the
Act.

Please note that the Information Commissioner's guidance states that
'Section 12 makes it clear that a public authority does not have to make a
precise calculation of the costs of complying with a request. Only an
estimate is required ... what amounts to a reasonable estimate can only be
considered on a case by case basis.' In addition, the Commissioner also
advises 'where a reasonable estimate has been made that the appropriate
limit would be exceeded, there is no requirement for a public authority to
undertake work up to the limit.'  

Section 16

Under Section 16 of the Act (duty to assist) we are required to offer you
advice and assistance in connection with your request so that it falls
within the cost limit. If you were to specify a specific borough that you
are interested in receiving the information for, then it may be possible
to answer your request within the cost threshold. It may also be possible
to answer Question 3 and 4 of your request within the cost threshold,
although the likelihood is that this may still exceed the cost threshold.
 By also narrowing the length of time specified, for example, within a one
- month time frame, it may then be more possible to extract the
information being requested within the cost threshold.  

Please note that any new re-defined request would need to be re-considered
in order to establish whether Section 12 of the Act would again be
engaged. Furthermore there is no guarantee, due to the nature of your
request, that a reduction in this way would reduce the scope of your
request enough to bring this within the cost limit. This is because of the
broad nature of the searches that would be required.

I would also like to take this opportunity to explain to you a public
authority's right to aggregate requests of a similar nature from an
applicant.

Section 12(4) of the Act provides:

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that, in such
circumstances as may be prescribed, where two or more requests for
information are made to a public authority-
(a) by one person, or
(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the estimated total cost of complying with all of them.

Therefore, if you were to submit a separate request asking for information
relating to specific boroughs, we would be within our rights to aggregate
these requests. This is set out in Section 5 of The Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Therefore, you would need to leave a 'reasonable' period between
submitting such requests, which is '60 consecutive working days'.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

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

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact Deborah Solomon on telephone number 0207 161 4291 quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Superintendent Prosser
TP MSC and Volunteers OCU
Territorial Policing Headquarters

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 1(1)(a) of the Act provides:

(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is
entitled-
(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds
information of the description specified in the request,

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time
for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that
fact.

Section 12(2) of the Act provides:

(2) Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its
obligation to comply with paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the
estimated cost of complying with that paragraph alone would exceed the
appropriate limit.

Section 5 of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate
Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004

5. - (1) In circumstances in which this regulation applies, where two or
more requests for information to which section 1(1) of the 2000 Act would,
apart from the appropriate limit, to any extent apply, are made to a
public authority -
(a) by one person, or
(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting
in concert or in pursuance of a campaign,
the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to
be the total costs which may be taken into account by the authority, under
regulation 4, of complying with all of them.

(2) This regulation applies in circumstances in which-
(a) the two or more requests referred to in paragraph (1) relate, to any
extent, to the same or similar information, and
(b) those requests are received by the public authority within any period
of sixty consecutive working days.

 (3) In this regulation, "working day" means any day other than a
Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank
holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971[4] in any part
of the United Kingdom.
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk

Twitter: @metpoliceuk