Surveilance Commissioner report 2013

Paul Lythgoe 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 partially successful.

Dear Cambridgeshire Constabulary,
Under the freedom of Information Act 2000 I request that you
provide the following information.

The 2013 annual inspection report for the Cambridgeshire
Constabulary produced by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, and conducted on January 6th to the 7th 2014.

In addition I would like you to specify for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary the number of authorisations proscribed under RIPA 2000 for Active Covert Human Intelligence Sources during 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Lythgoe

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Dear Paul

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0246/2014
We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information (FOI) request which
was received by Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 21/03/2014

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 01480 456 111 asking for the Information Access Office or
email [Cambridgeshire Constabulary request email]

Regards

Julie Purse
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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Dear Paul

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 0246/2014

In reply to your request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, dated 21/03/2014

I request that you
provide the following information.

The 2013 annual inspection report for the Cambridgeshire
Constabulary produced by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, and
conducted on January 6th to the 7th 2014.

In addition I would like you to specify for the Cambridgeshire
Constabulary the number of authorisations  proscribed under RIPA 2000 for
Active Covert Human Intelligence Sources during 2013.

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.

PART 1.

Please note that the inspection was conducted between January 13th  and
17th,  2014

Your request for information has now been considered and I am prepared to
release some parts of the requested document. This is attached and is
named ‘FOI 0246-2014 Commisioners Report.tif'. As I have redacted some
information from the report I need to identify those parts.
The information in some or all of Sections 11, 13, 20, 25, 29, 34, 35, 39,
41, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 67, 68, 69,
70, 72 and 75  has been redacted. Where the complete paragraph has been
redacted the paragraph number has been retained. Where parts of the
paragraph have been redacted black lines are given.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Cambridgeshire
Constabulary, when refusing to provide such information (because the
information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which:
(a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c)
states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies. (A document listing the exemptions is attached)

In respect of Section 1(1)(a) of the FOI Act I can confirm that
Cambridgeshire Constabulary do hold information about the 2013 annual
inspection report for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary produced by the
Office of Surveillance Commissioners

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

S23(1)
S24(1)
S30(1)(a),  
S31(1)(a)(b),
S38(1)(b)

S23 Information supplied by, or Concerning, Certain Security Bodies - Is
an absolute exemption and I am not required to demonstrate Harm or carry
out a public interest test.
S24 National Security and S31 Law Enforcement and S38 Health and Safety -
are prejudice based Qualified exemptions which requires the prejudice
(harm) to be evidenced and a public interest test to be carried out.
S30 Investigations - is a class based Qualified exemption which doesn’t
require the prejudice (harm) to be documented however it is subject to a
public interest test.

HARM in relation to exemptions
The information requested contains sensitive names, practice
recommendations and tactical information. I therefore provide details of
the harm that will be caused by their disclosure.
The success of criminal investigations is very often dependent on the use
of covert techniques and methodology. The individuals involved in this
type of activity, or any individual suspected by the criminal fraternities
of being so involved, would have their safety put at risk, if the
information were released that could identify any individual or policing
activity.
Many criminals are constantly active and astute in their assessment of
police capabilities and will capitalise on any information they can glean
about policy and practice. Using the information to compromise policing
methods will assist their offending behaviour. For example, enabling
offenders to engage counter measures against disclosed surveillance
techniques.
In addition, members of the public assisting in this type of activity
would be less inclined to come forward if their assistance and information
about them is disclosed through FOI disclosure, resulting in a reduced
capability for law enforcement and a negative impact on future operational
work. This would impact on the ability to prevent or detect crime and
breakdown the maintenance of the ethos of confidentiality engaged with ANY
member of public that assists the police, from informants to the provision
of premises by members of the public.
The information requested almost certainly contains names of police
officers who undertake their roles covertly. By releasing these names into
the public domain the safety of these individuals would be compromised.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring disclosure S30
Any investigation that is carried out will have used public funds.
Releasing the requested details will show that those funds have been used
correctly.

Factors favouring non-disclosure S30
To release details about an investigation, especially one where
surveillance has been used, is likely to have a significant impact on
future law enforcement capabilities.

Factors favouring disclosure S24
If the public are better informed they can take steps to keep themselves
safe.

Factors favouring non-disclosure S24
By releasing information that the public do not need to know has the
potential to increase the risk to the public. This is because if someone
knows our position they can take measures to counteract them.
 
Factors favouring disclosure S31
If the public are given information they are then in a better position to
protect themselves.

Factors favouring non-disclosure S31
Considerable time and effort is put into the development of law
enforcement tactics. Releasing information that would identify those
tactics will compromise those tactics and has the potential to hinder the
prevention or detection of crime.
 
Factors favouring disclosure S38
Any work that the police perform requires the expenditure of public funds.

Factors favouring non-disclosure S38
This request is referring to surveillance information and some of this is
performed covertly. By releasing data that could identify how that covert
information is obtained may put the individuals involved at risk and may
lead to a loss of confidence in the ability of the police to protect the
community.

Balancing Test
The purpose behind this test is to review the factors given above to
determine if the balance falls in favour of disclosure or non-disclosure
of the requested data. In relation to S30 I have reviewed that information
and it is my consideration that the potential to reduce the force’s future
law enforcement capabilities outweigh those of showing that public funds
have been used appropriately. For the other exemptions used I have had to
look at the information above including the identified harm and for S24 I
consider that anything that will increase the risk to the public is not in
the public interest to disclose. For S31 I have looked at the factors and
consider that the wider implication of compromising police tactics has a
greater weight to that of the public being provided with information that
will enable them to better protect themselves. For S38 I consider that
releasing anything that will put individuals at risk has a greater weight
than that of the expenditure of public funds.
On balance and taking all the above into consideration it is my decision
that the information should be protected from disclosure.

PART 2.

I am refusing to provide you with the number of authorisations  proscribed
under RIPA 2000 for Active Covert Human Intelligence Sources during 2013.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Cambridgeshire
Constabulary, when refusing to provide such information (because the
information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which:
(a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c)
states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies. (A document listing the exemptions is attached)

In respect of Section 1(1)(a) of the FOI Act I can confirm that
Cambridgeshire Constabulary do hold information about the number of RIPA
authorisations executed for the use of Active Covert Human Intelligence
Sources.

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

S30(1)(a)  
S30(2)(a)(i)

S30 Investigations - is a class based Qualified exemption which doesn’t
require the prejudice (harm) to be documented however it is subject to a
public interest test.

Factors favouring disclosure S30
Any investigation that is carried out will have used public funds.
Releasing the requested details will show that those funds have been used
correctly.

Factors favouring non-disclosure S30
To release details about an investigation, especially one where
surveillance has been used, is likely to have a significant impact on
future law enforcement capabilities.

Balancing Test
The purpose behind this test is to review the factors given above to
determine if the balance falls in favour of disclosure or non-disclosure
of the requested data. In relation to S30 I have reviewed that information
and it is my consideration that the potential to reduce the force’s future
law enforcement capabilities outweigh those of showing that public funds
have been used appropriately.
On balance and taking all the above into consideration it is my decision
that the information should be protected from disclosure.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for
those parts of your request.

The Cambridgeshire Police Service can neither confirm nor deny that it
holds any other information relevant to your request as the duty in
s1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue
of the following exemptions:
Section 23(5) Information relating to the Security bodies;
Section 24(2) National Security;
Section 30(3) by virtue of S30(2)(b) Investigations;
Section 23 is an absolute class-based exemption and therefore there is no
requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test
Sections 24 is a prejudice based qualified exemption and there is a
requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or
not that the information is held as well as carrying out a public interest
test.
Section 30 is a qualified class-based exemption and there is a requirement
to conduct a public interest test.

Overall harm for partial NCND
Every effort should be made to release information under FOI. However, to
confirm or deny many of the police actions around RIPA and in particular
specialist tactical areas would undermine ongoing investigations, reveal
policing techniques, risk the identification of individuals, the
possibility of revealing involvement of any exempt bodies and the risk in
undermining National Security. Revealing information that specific tactics
are used in certain circumstances (e.g. murder, kidnap, and drugs
importation) would help subjects avoid detection, and inhibit the
prevention and detection of crime. This could either lead to the
identification of specific cases or in providing this level of information
at force level is likely to result in significantly small authorisation
numbers being published which presents a real risk of identifying the
resources available to individual departments to covertly monitor groups
or individuals likely to be committing offences under their remit. It is
important that the Police Service discloses information regarding
surveillance activity under RIPA where it is appropriate to do so but some
authority information or specific covert law enforcement techniques are
not disclosed for the above reasons. To do so would disclose tactical
information to the detriment of those actual techniques. In any case due
to the legal constraints under Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the RIPA legislation
(interceptions) it may actually be a criminal offence to do so (under
Section 19).
In order to counter criminal and terrorist behaviour it is vital that the
police and other agencies have the ability to work together, where
necessary covertly, in order to obtain intelligence within current
legislative frameworks to ensure the successful arrest and prosecution of
those who commit or plan to commit acts of terrorism. In order to achieve
this goal, it is vitally important that information sharing takes place
with other police forces and security bodies within the UK and
Internationally in order to support counter-terrorism measures in the
fight to deprive international terrorist networks of their ability to
commit crime.
It should be recognised that the international security landscape is
increasingly complex and unpredictable. The UK faces a serious and
sustained threat from violent extremists and this threat is greater in
scale and ambition than any of the terrorist threats in the past.
Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat level, based upon
current intelligence and that threat has remained at the second highest
level, ‘severe’, except for two short periods during August 2006 and June
and July 2007, when it was raised to the highest threat ‘critical’. The
current security level for England & Wales is set at Substantial
The Police Service is committed to demonstrating proportionality and
accountability regarding surveillance techniques to the appropriate
authorities. However, if the Police Service were to either confirm or deny
that any other information exists, other covert surveillance tactics will
either be compromised or significantly weakened. If the Police Service
denies a tactic is used in one request but then exempts for another,
requesters can determine the ‘exempt’ answer is in fact a technique used
in policing. The impact could undermine national security, any on-going
investigations and any future investigations, as it would enable targeted
individuals/groups to become surveillance aware. This would help subjects
avoid detection, and inhibit the prevention and detection of crime.
The prevention and detection of crime is the foundation upon which
policing is built and the police have a clear responsibility to prevent
crime and arrest those responsible for committing crime or those that plan
to commit crime. To do this the police require evidence and that evidence
can come from a number of sources, some of which is obtained through
covert means. Having obtained sufficient evidence offenders are charged
with offences and placed before the courts. By confirming or denying that
any other information pertinent to this request exists could directly
influence the stages of that process, and jeopardise current
investigations or prejudice law enforcement.
Any information identifying the focus of policing activity could be used
to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations. Information that
undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely
affect public safety and have a negative impact on both national security
and law enforcement.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24 –The public are entitled
to know how public funds are spent and by confirming or denying that any
other information relevant to the question exists could lead to a
better-informed public that can take steps to protect themselves

Factors against confirmation or denial for S24 – By confirming or denying
that any other information relevant to the question exists would render
Security measures less effective. This could lead to the compromise of
ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infra-structure of
the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S30 - By confirming or
denying that any other information relevant to the question exists would
enable the public to obtain satisfaction that all investigations are
conducted properly and that their public money is well spent.

Factors against confirmation or denial for S30 - By confirming or denying
that any other information relevant to the question exists, would hinder
the prevention or detection of crime, undermine the partnership approach
to law enforcement , which would subsequently affect the force’s future
law enforcement capabilities.

Balance Test - The security of the country is of paramount importance and
the Police service will not divulge whether information is or is not held
if to do so could undermine National Security or compromise law
enforcement. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of
policing operations and in this case providing assurance that the police
service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by
the criminal fraternity, there is a very strong public interest in
safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police
investigations and operations in this area.
As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is
appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be
overridden in exceptional circumstances. Therefore it is our opinion that
for these issues the balancing test for confirming or denying whether any
other information relevant to your request exists is not made out.
There is also no requirement to satisfy any public concern over the
legality of police operations and the tactics we may or may not use. The
force is already held to account by independent bodies such as The Office
of the Surveillance Commissioner and The Interception of Communications
Commissioners Office. These inspections assess each constabulary’s
compliance with the legislation and a full report is submitted to the
Prime Minister and Scottish Ministers containing statistical information.
Our accountability is therefore not enhanced by confirming or denying that
any other information is held.

None of the above can be viewed as an inference that any other information
does or does not exist.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for
this particular request.

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

 

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact the Information Access Office via email, or on telephone number
01480 456 111 extension 2035.

Francis

Francis Crawford
Information Access Office
Cambridgeshire Constabulary

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To visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary's website please follow this link:

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