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Use of Juveniles as Covert Human Intelligence Sources

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Dear Kent Police,

I would like to make the following request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, 2000.

Since at least 2000, the Government has authorised the use of juveniles as Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS), under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

I would like to know how many juvenile CHIS have been used by your force since 2000, if possible disaggregated by age range of child (under 16, and 16 and over), type of crime, and year.

I recognise that data about CHIS operations could potentially allow criminals to determine (or cause them to suspect) that a child has acted against them, posing a risk to children. Therefore if more specific details must be withheld, I would be satisfied with simply knowing how many juvenile CHIS have been used since 2000.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Thompson

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Thompson,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF 18/08/1148

 

Thank you for your request received by Kent Police on 28 August 2018. I
note you seek access, in summary, to information relating to:

 

Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides that a public
authority respond to an FOI request within 20 working days. Please be
aware that we are experiencing very high request volumes and while we will
endeavour to complete your request as soon as possible it is likely that a
response may well be delayed.

 

Your interest in Kent Police is appreciated and pending a specific
response to your request, I enclose a sheet, which summarises your rights.
Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact us via the following telephone numbers 01622
654429/654413/652304 quoting the reference number above.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mark Crittenden

Freedom of Information Team

Kent Police

 

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to
https://www.kent.police.uk/policy/privac... or
https://www.essex.police.uk/copyright-pr...

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Thompson,

 

With reference to the Freedom of Information request that we received from
you on 28 August 2018 please find attached the response letter.

 

Should you have any queries relating to this then please do not hesitate
to contact us.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Public Disclosure Officer

Information Security and Governance

Kent Police

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to
https://www.kent.police.uk/policy/privac... or
https://www.essex.police.uk/copyright-pr...

Dear Kent Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Kent Police's handling of my FOI request 'Use of Juveniles as Covert Human Intelligence Sources'.

I do not see how my simple request for the numbers of children involved since 2000 is able to be withheld under the exemptions you cite.

You cite the following sections as reasons for not responding to my request:
Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies;
Section 24(2) National Security
Section 30(3) Investigations by virtue of Section 30(2)
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
Section 38(2) Health and Safety
Section 40(5) Personal Information

If I might take them by turn.

Section 23 applies to information supplied by or relating to security bodies. If I were requesting details of the individuals concerned this might apply. As I am asking merely for a headcount, this will be information held by your police force and not supplied by the security bodies. I also feel that the "relates to" exemption in this case does not apply, as the connection is too remote.

Sections 23 and 24 are mutually exclusive, and so cannot both apply to the same information. As I think 23 doesn't apply, I also suggest that 24 doesn't either. For Section 24 to apply there must be a real possibility that disclosure would undermine national security. This is manifestly not the case. I simply want numbers. Nothing more.

Section 30, as you will know, must be subject to a public interest test. It is my strong view that the use of children as spies may breach the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As such there is a strong public interest in disclosure. There would be no harm in releasing to me a simple number, over a period of 18 years. I will discuss this in further detail below.

Section 31. I simply do not see how the disclosure of a simple number would have any prejudicial impact on any of the areas listed in this Section. Again I repeat, I am asking not for detailed information on dates, or any personal information. As detailed in my request, I am asking for a simple minimum, of a number of children used over a period of 18 years. It is not at all clear to me how the disclosure of that number will have any negative impact, other than from a PR standpoint, which is not what the exemptions exist for.

Section 38 does not apply in my view for much the same reason. Asking for a number that could relate to any investigation over a period of nearly two decades would not endanger any individual. It is far too broad a period of time, and too limited in detail to identify any individual. Again, as it is a qualified exemption, I believe the public interest in disclosure is much greater than the negligible risk to an individual.

Finally, Section 40. I cannot see any reasonable definition whereby the disclosure of a headcount constitutes personal information. I believe this has been misapplied.

In light of all of the above, I would ask you to reconsider, and please disclose to me the number of children used as CHIS from the year 2000 to the present.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Thompson

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Thompson,

Kent Police acknowledges receipt of this request for an internal review, and will endeavour to provide a response by 26 October.

Yours sincerely,

Public Disclosure Officer
Information Security and Governance
Kent Police

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Thompson,

 

Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review
of FOI 18/08/1148.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Public Disclosure Officer

Information Security and Governance

Kent Police

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to
https://www.kent.police.uk/policy/privac... or
https://www.essex.police.uk/copyright-pr...

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Matthew Thompson please sign in and let everyone know.