Use of personal mobile phones whilst on duty

Dorian Chan made this Freedom of Information request to West Midlands 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 partially successful.

Dear West Midlands Police,

1. Are police officers permitted to take personal photos ( non work related) with their personal mobile phones during an execution of search warrant?

2. Are police officers permitted to send text messages, photos, what's app messages/ photos, Facebook messenger messages/ photos ( non work related), with their personal mobile phones during an execution of search warrant?

3. Are police officers permitted to share non work related photos (taken during an execution of search warrant) with their personal mobile phones, with colleagues/ friends/ family?

4. Are police officers permitted to use their own personal mobile phones during an execution of search warrant for non work related purpose?

5. Are police officers permitted to use their own personal mobile phones during an execution of search warrant for non-emergency matters?

6. Are police officers permitted to take personal photos ( non work related) with their allocated work mobile phones during an execution of search warrant?

7. Are police officers permitted to send text messages, send photos, what's app messages/ photos, Facebook messenger messages/ photos ( non work related), with their allocated work mobile phones during an execution of search warrant?

8. Are police officers permitted to share non work related photos (taken during an execution of search warrant) with their allocated work mobiles phones, with colleagues/ friends/ family?

9. Are police officers permitted to use their allocated work mobile phones during an execution of search warrant for non work related purpose?

10. Are police officers permitted to use their allocated work mobile phones during an execution of search warrant for non-emergency matters?

Yours faithfully,

Dorian Chan

Freedom of Information,

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Freedom of Information,

Dear Dorian Chan

 

 

 

FOI Request Reference: 2430/18

 

Thank you for your email received 13 March 2018. With respect to charging
to comply with requests, we follow College of Policing (CoP) Guidance
which means that we will refuse any request that exceeds the appropriate
limit.  Within West Midlands Police here is no option to pay to process a
request where it exceeds the appropriate limit. This is explained in the
CoP guidance below:

 

FOIA section 12 provides an exemption from a public authority’s obligation
to comply with a request for information where the cost of compliance is
estimated to exceed the appropriate limit. The option to charge for work
in excess of the 18 hours appropriate limit is outlined within the
regulations.  However, forces cannot be legally compelled to undertake
this work and national policing policy is that requests that exceed the
limit are refused as these will have serious staff resource implications.

A public authority must still confirm or deny whether it holds the
information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the
appropriate limit. When estimating the time taken, the force can take the
following into account:

 

o determining if the information is held
o locating the information
o retrieving the information
o extracting the information to be disclosed from the other information.

However, forces cannot consider the following activities when calculating
the fees estimate:

o the time spent identifying information to be exempted
o the time dedicated to the process of redaction.

 

However, forces can consider using [1]FOIA section 14 where this activity
would be unduly burdensome, see:

 

[2]https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-co...

 

We are not at the moment, considering your request under Section 12 but we
may consider Section 14 where responding to your frequent and overlapping
requests, which equates to 40 questions, show some of the relevant
characteristics for being extremely burdensome. While we would prefer to
process Freedom of Information requests we have limited resources and it
is important that we use them appropriately.

 

This brings us to the interpretation of S14 (1) Vexatious Requests. In the
Upper Tribunal Case of Dransfield it was established that a ‘vexatious’
request is one that is manifestly unjustified, inappropriate or an
improper use of the FOIA procedures, which hinge upon four key, but not
exhaustive principles:

 

(1) The burden - on the public authority and its staff. This involves
considering the previous course of dealings with the requestor, looking at
factors such as the number of requests, their breadth or the pattern of
their arrival;

(2) The motive - of the requester. That FOIA is “motive blind” does not
mean that there can be no examination, under s14, of the justification for
the request, or its motive. It may be “ill-intentioned”, or have drifted
so far from its original purpose as to become disproportionate.

(3) The value or “serious purpose” of the request. The UT recognised the
potential for overlap with (2), and also cautioned about “jumping to
conclusions” about a lack of serious purpose; but there should be an
objective public interest in the release of information sought.

(4) Any harassment or distress, of and to staff – by the use of bullying
language etc. This was not, however, a prerequisite for the application of
s14.

In addition to the guidance handed down from the Dransfield case a police
force is required to analyse requests before making them vexatious in line
with guidance issued by the Information Commissioner (ICO). 

 

As mentioned in my previous email I encourage you to you read the guidance
on Section 14 vexatious and note that the Freedom of Information Act
should not be used to open or extend a complaint.  If you are unhappy with
the conduct of WMP officers there are procedures in place to address this.
You can make a complaint to the Professional Standards Department, and if
you are not happy with the outcome of that investigation, then you can
make a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

 

Links to more information have been included below:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/conta...
[3]https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/

 

 

As previously advised, your request is being considered and we will
endeavour to provide a response within the statutory timescale of 20
working days, from the date of the last request received which was 05
March 2018, as defined by the Act, subject to the application of any
statutory exemptions. Where consideration is being given to the
application of any exemptions the 20 working day timescale may be extended
under the terms of the Act to a period considered reasonable depending on
the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be
notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In
all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest
opportunity.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Susan Brown

Freedom of Information Unit

Corporate Communications

To report crime and anti-social behaviour which does not require an
emergency response, please call 101. In an emergency, dial 999.

 

Ext 801 2068

[mobile number]

 

[4][email address]

 

Monday to Thursday 7am-3pm

 

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This email is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged
or confidential information. If received in error, please notify the
originator immediately. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, copying or
alteration of this email is strictly forbidden. Views or opinions
expressed in this email do not necessarily represent those of West
Midlands Police. All West Midlands Police email activity is monitored for
virus, racist, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate activity. No
responsibility is accepted by West Midlands Police for any loss or damage
arising in any way from the receipt or use of this email.

References

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2. https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-co...
3. https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
6. https://www.wmnow.co.uk/
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8. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
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11. http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/conta...

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for your reply.

I understand you must be inundated with requests.

I can ensure that that there is definitely no ill intention on my part, and I believe that all of these FOI are in the public interest. And I'd hope you will find that I have been polite and sincere in all our correspondence.

If I have exceeded the cost limit for the 60 days rule, could you give me a quote for answering these requests?

Again, thank you for your valuable time.

Yours sincerely,

Dorian Chan

Freedom of Information,

Ms Chan

Thank you for your email.

Could I ask that you read Susan's previous email to you a little more carefully please?

In particular you will note that we are not considering the application of section 12 (which is the cost limit) at the moment. Even if we were considering, Sue included the guidance in this area which indicates that there is no option to pay for a FOI request.

We are considering Section 14. You will note that Sue was at pains to indicate that the application of Section 14 is, in this case, being considered because of the burden being placed on West Midlands Police to process frequent and overlapping requests. We have not at any point made any comment indicating that you language is inappropriate. Far from it, your FOI requests have always been polite. The issue at the moment is "the number of requests, their breadth or the pattern of their arrival". We are asking you to review your behaviour in this regard.

The expectations placed on a requester by the ICO are clearly outlined here:

https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

Please take the time to read this also.

Finally, as Sue indicated, we will answer your request within 20 working days.

I trust that it is clear from Sue's previous response that there is no option to pay for a FOI request. There is therefore no requirement for you to ask that question again.

Thanks

Carl

Carl Bird
Freedom of Information Unit
Corporate Communications
To report crime and anti-social behaviour which does not require an emergency response, please call 101. In an emergency, dial 999.

FOI UNIT: 801 2068
External: 101 ext 801 2068
[email address]

Website: www.west-midlands.police.uk
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View all our social network links

Our vision: Preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for the clarification, I look forward to receiving Sue's reply.

Yours sincerely,

Dorian Chan

Freedom of Information,

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Chan

 

 

 

FOI Request Reference: 002430/18

 

Thank you for your requests for information, received from 06/02/18 to
05/03/2018

 

REQUEST

 

1.Are police officers permitted to take personal photos ( non work
related) with their personal mobile phones during an execution of search
warrant?

 

2. Are police officers permitted to send text messages, photos, what's app
messages/ photos, Facebook messenger messages/ photos ( non work
related),  with their personal mobile phones during an execution of search
warrant?

 

3. Are police officers permitted to share non work related photos (taken
during an execution of search warrant) with their personal mobile phones,
with colleagues/ friends/ family?

 

4. Are police officers permitted to use their own personal mobile phones
during an execution of search warrant for non work related purpose?

 

5. Are police officers permitted to use their own personal mobile phones
during an execution of search warrant for non-emergency matters?

 

6. Are police officers permitted to take personal photos ( non work
related) with their allocated work mobile phones during an execution of
search warrant?

 

 

7. Are police officers permitted to send text messages, send photos,
what's app messages/ photos, Facebook messenger messages/ photos ( non
work related),  with their allocated work mobile phones during an
execution of search warrant?

 

8. Are police officers permitted to share non work related photos (taken
during an execution of search warrant) with their allocated work mobiles
phones, with colleagues/ friends/ family?

 

9. Are police officers permitted to use their allocated work mobile phones
during an execution of search warrant for non work related purpose?

 

10. Are police officers permitted to use their allocated work mobile
phones during an execution of search warrant for non-emergency matters?

 

11. Does West Midlands Police follow the College of Policings 2013
Guidance on Relationships with the Media?

 

12. Did West Midlands Police take reasonable measures to ensure any
materials that are published by the invited media do not lead to a suspect
being identified, in the same way as they would when a person is arrested.
An example of this would be the release of a photograph after a raid that
identifies the house number in a street, which could lead to the identity
of the suspect becoming known? If so, what measures were they?

 

13. Were the invited media asked to sign an indemnity agreement by the
West Midlands Police? As it is the responsibility of the media to ensure
that they do not identify the individual in the operation or identify any
victims or witnesses without their consent.

 

14. Your answer to my original question:- 6) What time did the media film
the police officers gaining entry to the above premises?  Your Answer -
The media arrived after this time, the recorded time is not held. Could
you confirm the time when the media film the police gaining entry to the
premises in question is not the same time when the police first gain entry
into the premises in question.

 

15. Your answer to my original question:- 7) Did you arrest, charge or
prosecuted any persons from the above premises ? Your Answer - This
information is provided on the following website,
[1]https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/news...

Could you please provide me with a precise answer to my original question.
I asked:- Did you arrest, charge or prosecuted any persons from the above
premises ( Ming Moon Restaurant, 499 Stafford Road, Wolverhampton WV10
6RR)? The link you provided does not provide me with this answer.

 

16.       What is the West Midlands Police Protocol when members of public
are found to be posting hate speech on social media?

 

17.       What is the West Midlands Police Protocol when members of public
are found to be posting hate speech on the Official West Midlands Police
Facebook page?

 

18.       Who is managing the contents of the Official West Midlands
Police Facebook page?

 

19.       Who has the overall responsibility within the West Midlands
Police for the contents of the Official West Midlands Police Facebook
page?

 

 

20.       How is the Official West Midlands Police Facebook page being
managed?

 

21.       How often is the Official West Midlands Police Facebook page
being monitored?

 

22.       Does West Midlands Police tolerate hate speeches that are being
posted by member of public on the Official West Midlands Police Facebook
page?

 

23.       Does West Midlands Police investigate hate speeches that are
being posted by member of public on the Official West Midlands Police
Facebook page?

 

24.       How hate speeches that are being posted by member of public on
the Official West Midlands Police Facebook page are being investigated by
the West Midlands

 

25.       What is the West Midlands Police Procedure Policy on computer,
Ipad and mobile devices seized following an execution of search warrant?

 

26.       What is the West Midlands Police Procedure Policy on documents
(in paper form) seized following an execution of search warrant?

 

27.       Does West Midlands Police retain seized computer, Ipad and
mobile devices, albeit a copy would be sufficient for the purpose of
investigation?

 

28.       Does West Midlands Police retain seized documents (in paper
form), albeit a copy would be sufficient for the purpose of investigation?

 

29.       Once seized items are copied for the purpose of investigation,
what is the West Midlands Police Procedure Policy on returning those
seized items to the owners of those items?

 

30.    How can the owner of those seized items request for the return of
those items seized, which have already been copied for the purpose of
investigation?

 

31.Can West Midlands Police break entry to a subject property more than
once with a Search Warrant which is authorised only with a single entry by
court?

 

32.Can West Midlands Police continue to search and seize items from the
subject property on the second entry, albeit authorised with only a single
entry search warrant by court?

 

33.Should the West Midlands Police require gaining multiple entries to a
subject property, what type of search warrant is required?

 

34.       Which rank of officers is required to make a search warrant
application to a district judge?

 

35.       Which rank of officers is requires to authorise the application
of search warrant put to a district judge?

 

36.       Which rank of officers has the overall responsibility for the
application of search warrant put to a district judge?

 

37.       Which rank of officers decides on which legislation is to be
cited for the application of search warrant put to a district judge?

 

38.       Which rank of officers is accountable for a defective
application of search warrant put to a district judge?

 

39.       Which rank of officers is accountable for a defective search
warrant obtained by a district judge?

 

40.       Which rank of officers is accountable for a defective search
warrant executed at a subject property?

 

RESPONSE

 

The requests have been combined in line with Information Commissioner’s
Office guidance. Please see:

 

https://ico.org.uk/media/1198/dealing-wi...

 

Paragraph 68 states:

 

“The authority may also combine the total cost for all requests received
from one person (or several people acting in concert) during a period of
60 days so long as they are requests for similar information”.

 

This is explained in more detail with the following guidance:

 

[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/1199/costs_of_c...

 

Since 06 February 2018 you have submitted 8 requests relating to a similar
subject, as well as a query raised on a completed response. Of the
requests received in this short period, 6 were received on the same day 05
March 2018. I note the nature and timing of your frequent and overlapping
requests and recommend that you familiarise yourself with ICO guidance on
Freedom of Information before making any further requests.

 

[3]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

In particular you may wish to look at the ‘Information request dos and
don’ts’ section.  As your requests show some of these relevant
characteristics we may consider the application of Section 14 (vexatious
or repeated requests) as well as Section 12 (where the request exceeds the
appropriate limit) to future requests.

 

Please find attached our response

 

If you are unhappy with the conduct of WMP officers there are procedures
in place to address this. You can make a complaint to the Professional
Standards Department, and if you are not happy with the outcome of that
investigation, then you can make a complaint to the Independent Police
Complaints Commission. Links to more information have been included below:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/conta...
[4]https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/

 

Your attention is drawn to your right to request a re-examination of your
case under West Midlands Police review procedure, which can be found at:

 

[5]http://foi.west-midlands.police.uk/revie...

 

Please note that such an appeal must be received within 20 working days of
the date of this correspondence. Any such request received after this time
will only be considered at the discretion of the FOI Unit.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Susan Brown

Freedom of Information Unit

Tel: 101

ext: 801 2068

 

 

email. [6][email address]

Working hours 7:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Thursday

 

To report crime and anti-social behaviour which does not require an
emergency response please call 101. In an emergency call 999.

 

Website: [7]www.west-midlands.police.uk

WMNow: [8]www.wmnow.co.uk/
Twitter: [9]www.twitter.com/wmpolice
Facebook: [10]www.facebook.com/westmidlandspolice
YouTube: [11]www.youtube.com/westmidlandspolice

Flickr: [12]www.flickr.com/westmidlandspolice

 

[13]View all our social network links

 

Our vision: : Preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in
need.

 

 

This email is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged
or confidential information. If received in error, please notify the
originator immediately. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, copying or
alteration of this email is strictly forbidden. Views or opinions
expressed in this email do not necessarily represent those of West
Midlands Police. All West Midlands Police email activity is monitored for
virus, racist, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate activity. No
responsibility is accepted by West Midlands Police for any loss or damage
arising in any way from the receipt or use of this email.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/news...
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/1199/costs_of_c...
3. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...
4. https://www.ipcc.gov.uk/
5. http://foi.west-midlands.police.uk/revie...
6. mailto:[email address]
7. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
8. https://www.wmnow.co.uk/
9. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
10. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
11. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
12. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...
13. https://exchange.wmpad.local/owa/redir.a...