Vehicle Theft - Security Compromise

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, West Midlands Police should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear West Midlands Police,

I am seeking the information your constabulary possesses in relation to your PCC taking the lead on vehicle crime in 2019 [1]. WMP and Crime Commissioner agreed to help the government tackle car crime by making contributions to its new Vehicle Crime Taskforce [2]. The information will run from the date of the agreement. It appears the information will run from 01/2018 [3].

The subject matter is addressed, in detail, in the links below but relates to vehicle theft, vehicle security (as fitted by manufacturers), theft methodology (security compromise).

The information is exchanges between WMP with your PCC, the Home Office (Vehicle Crime Taskforce) [4], manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft [4]. This will include notes of meetings attended and action to be taken, the dates and notes of briefings between WMP and PCC relating to vehicle security compromise’ ; opinions and evidence.

The PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ [4] in 2019, it is possible WMP's exchanges will extend to Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for Crime and Policing. WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

Yours faithfully,

Mr P Swift

[1] https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-...

[2] https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-...

[3] https://www.expressandstar.com/news/crim...

[4] https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-...

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

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Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Swift

 

FOI Request Reference: 1480A/23

Thank you for your request for information, received 14/09/23 and
clarified on 29/09/23

 

REQUEST

In relation to your PCC taking the lead on vehicle crime in 2019. WMP and
Crime Commissioner agreed to help the government tackle car crime by
making contributions to its new Vehicle Crime Taskforce. The information
will run from 01/2018.

 

The subject matter relates to vehicle theft, vehicle security (as fitted
by manufacturers), theft methodology (security compromise).

 

The information is exchanges between WMP with your PCC, the Home Office
(Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft . This will include notes of
meetings attended and action to be taken, the dates and notes of briefings
between WMP and PCC relating to vehicle security compromise’; opinions and
evidence.

The PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ in 2019, it is possible WMP's
exchanges will extend to Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for Crime
and Policing.  WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

 

RESPONSE

Please be advised that the information that you have requested is not held
in a readily retrievable format. Information relating to `Exchanges`
between WMP and the PCC, the Home Office (Vehicle Crime Taskforce),
manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers, about vehicle
security/theft is not held centrally or in an electronically, or any other
searchable format. It would require the FOI unit to contact every employee
that was in service from January 2018 and ask them to search all records
held by them in order to establish if any relevant information was held.

Please be advised that `exchanges` would include all written and
electronic correspondence, including emails, letters, text messages,
WhatsApp messages, minutes from meetings etc. However, correspondence may
also be saved onto other force systems, dependent on its usage, or printed
and saved into a paper format or scanned and saved in an electronic
format. The scope of this request is so broad that in order to determine
any and all `exchanges` and communication on this subject matter, we would
need to conduct multiple manual searches of force systems and physical
locations used by West Midlands Police. Additionally, as you have asked
for correspondence between West Midlands Police and the Office of the
Police and Crime Commissioner, this would encompass any/all employees of
the force as a whole, and any/all employees of the OPCC, however, to
approach all employees in relation to this request would be a massive
undertaking. Similarly, a force-wide search of all email correspondence
would need to be conducted, however, emails pertaining to the requested
subject matter may not be easily or immediately identifiable, therefore,
an additional manual review of emails would need to be conducted in order
to determine which emails fell within the scope of this request.
Conducting these searches however, would exceed the appropriate limit
(FOIA, s.12). In addition, you have not provided the names or contact
details for any of the other organisations that fall within the scope of
the request - the Home Office (Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and
the Society of Motor Manufacturers and so we could not even start to
conduct searches in relation to these organisations.

 

Therefore, The cost of trying to identify and retrieve relevant
information, if any is held, is above the amount to which we are legally
required to respond. The cost of confirming or denying that the
information is held would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section
12(2) of the FOI Act 2000. It exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in
the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts
as a Refusal Notice for this request

 

Unfortunately, due to the reasons outlined above, I am unable to suggest
any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to
satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the
Regulations.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

 

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

 

 

RIGHT OF APPEAL

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:

 

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

 

Please note that such an appeal must be received within 40 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.

 

If you require any further information, then please e-mail the FOI Unit.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mrs R Williams l FOI Manager

Lloyd House l West Midlands Police

Working in partnership, making communities safer

 

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
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2. http://foi.west-midlands.police.uk/revie...

Dear West Midlands Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Midlands Police's handling of my FOI request 'Vehicle Theft - Security Compromise'.

If not held in a readily retrievable format, how is the information held?

I understand there have been exchanges relating to this very specific topic instigated by your PCC and involving Mr Munro, named by your PCC

The request does not require the FOI unit to contact every employee that was in service from January 2018 and ask them to search all records held by them in order to establish if any relevant information was held.

The manner in which the request, for my direct approach, has bene handled appears intended to prevent disclosure.

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

Yours faithfully,

Mr P Swift

Dear Freedom of Information,

I trust I will receive a meaningful explanation for how my request, about a very specific subject, involving your association and activity with the WMP PCC, resulted in the ‘we would need to approach every serving officer since 2018’ response. If you did not understand the request, clarity could and should have been requested. It does not appear your approach has been requestor or purpose blind.

The exchanges will almost certainly include those with Simon Foster of WMP PCC and Jim Munro of your constabulary. As I specifically mentioned Mr Munro in the request, your response is all the more concerning.

WMP should be able to identify their ‘crime lead’, the points of liaison with the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, chaired by the NPCC lead for Vehicle Crime and interaction with manufacturers. I certainly cannot and expecting me to do so is unreasonable.

Please advise the extent of the searches made to date that resulted in your response, in particular the reply from Mr Munro and the PCC and supply the associated, supportive, information.

Your former PCC liaised with WMP for information about vehicle crime with ‘The statistics supplied to the Commissioner by West Midlands Police* will continue to be published every 6 months until thefts return to the relatively low levels seen in 2015.’ https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-.... Vehicle crime has dramatically increased since 2015, since the above was written, with suspected car thieves less likely to be charged in the West Midlands last year than anywhere else in England and Wales https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-c...

*you are providing information to the PCC and I doubt this is in a piecemeal fashion, from 'every employee'. .

Apparently, you are providing data to the PCC about car thefts https://touch.policeoracle.com/news/arti... and WMp have been passing on recovered vehicles to enable manufacturers to asses how thieves bypassed security.

The request will include the commissioned report from West Midlands Police intended to better understand why you have an increased incidence of vehicle theft https://professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/.... Determining who participated from WMP will greatly assist in narrowing your request from ‘all serving officers since 2018’ to likely a handful.

Seemingly there are ‘Experts within West Midlands Police’ who say that whilst keyless technology has made life more convenient for the motorist it has also made stealing vehicles easier for criminals. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars... . You are better placed than I to identify these experts. The article reinforces your involvement/liaison with the PCC - 'The statistics have been supplied by West Midlands Police'.

The above article also comments on manufacturers having joined both the West Midlands Police and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s representatives in a new Home Office taskforce to see how this can be addressed. 'Task Force' suggests a small band, as opposed to every officer. The information will encompass this. The policing minister at that time, Nick Hurd, chaired this new taskforce, to tackle vehicle theft, which was to meet every six months and publish an action plan with new measures to disrupt these criminal networks centred around car crime.

Do you need further clarification or assistance?

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

Dear Mr Swift

 

FOI Internal Review Reference: 1503A/23

Thank you for your correspondence received 02/10/2023 where you requested
West Midlands Police to review its response to your request for
information under reference number 1408A/23.

 

I believe that you contacted PSD on 04/09/23 and the following request for
information was passed to the Civil Disclosure Unit:

Please advise what became of my 03/2019 submission to yourselves ‘U.K.
Vehicle Theft’ and provide this and all associated information, to include
subsequent approaches about your ‘lead’ on vehicle crime with
manufacturers and the Home Office with any more recent updates.

 

On 14/09/23 the Civil Disclosure Unit advised that A SAR is for personal
data, and the part of the request that they could can accept is `Please
advise what became of my 03/2019 submission to yourselves ‘U.K. Vehicle
Theft’ and provide this and all associated information`,

 

They advised that the next part of the sentence “to include subsequent
approaches about your ‘lead’ on vehicle crime with manufacturers and the
Home Office with any more recent updates.” is not your personal data, and
therefore not within the scope of a subject access request. They noted
your reference to FOI and advised that they would pass part of your
request onto the FOI team.

 

On the 28/09/23 I asked that you clarify what specific recorded
information it is that you require.

 

On the 29/09/23 you responded:

With regard to the FOIA aspect, you will likely be aware that I have
previously sought exchanges on the subject, those that relate to WMP
seemingly wishing to take a lead on vehicle crime, involving the Home
Office and manufacturers.

understandably, there will be exchanges between the PCC and WMP on the
subject / actions.

I am seeking the more recent information

   

On 29/09/23 I advised that, Unfortunately it does not appear that you have
outlined what specific recorded information it is that you require, and
should you wish to proceed we will need this please.

The FOI Act covers requests for recorded information held by the force,
and we require specific search parameters in order that we can allocate
the request to the most appropriate department/s to research and retrieve
information requested. The authority is not obliged to cross-reference
other information, documents, and links etc in order to try and establish
the specific information that an applicant requires. In this instance you
have referenced `previously sought exchanges` and a link on the OPCC`s
website. This does not constitute a request for specific recorded
information under the Act, and in its current format we are unable to
assist with your request.

 

Please also note that personal information is not available under FOI,
therefore we would not be able to assist in the provision of
correspondence submitted by you, or `exchanges` about you. We asked that,
should you wish to proceed with a request, please could you clarify what
specific recorded information it is that you require.

 

On 29/09/23 you responded:

I understand that the PCC obtained information from WMP with regard to
theft methodology and figures. It is this exchange / information I am
seeking from WMP. Whether you had any direct involvement with the Home
Office I do not know. I understand there were meetings between the PCC,
manufacturers and Home Office, if WMP attended, the request will include
this.

 

On 29/09/23 I advised that your e-mail correspondence does not provide a
specific request for information. It does not detail a time period. It
does not identify a specific subject matter. It does not identify who
within WMP you believe that the PCC obtained information from. It does not
identify what you mean by `exchange`. You have not identified what
meetings may be included in the scope of the request. You have not
identified what manufacturers you refer to. You have not given any
indication as to what role the Home Office or WMP would be undertaking in
such meetings, where they were, or when they were.   

 

We advised that it was very unlikely that we will be able to assist with
your enquiry in its current format, and asked that you please confirm if
this is the request that you are submitting.

 

On 29/09/23 you responded:

The time period will be from the date your PCC elected to be the lead,
01/2019 appears an appropriate start date. I cannot determine when he
elected to embark upon his meetings with manufacturers .

The subject matter is vehicle crime; the concerns about vehicle security
and the vehicle manufacturers association with this.

I cannot know who the PCC acquired information save for Jim Munro who I
understand specifically provided data / information to the PCC.

The role WMP played in the meetings cannot be ascertained by me and will
have no bearing upon the information required – if you attended meetings,
there will be a record of these and I would suggest Mr Munro would be the
first point of contact.

And

I am seeking the information your constabulary possesses in relation to
your PCC taking the lead on vehicle crime in 2019 [1].  WMP and Crime
Commissioner agreed to help the government tackle car crime by making
contributions to its new  Vehicle Crime Taskforce [2]. The information
will run from the date of the agreement.  It appears the information will
run from 01/2018 [3].

The subject matter is addressed, in detail, in the links below but relates
to vehicle theft, vehicle security (as fitted by manufacturers), theft
methodology (security compromise).

The information is exchanges between WMP with your PCC, the Home Office
(Vehicle Crime Taskforce) [4], manufacturers and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft [4]. This will include notes
of meetings attended and action to be taken, the dates and notes of
briefings between WMP and PCC relating to vehicle security compromise’ ;
opinions and evidence.

The PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ [4] in 2019, it is possible
WMP's exchanges will extend to Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for
Crime and Policing.  WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

And

I have placed to WDTK -
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...

 

From this we determined the request to read as follows:

In relation to your PCC taking the lead on vehicle crime in 2019. WMP and
Crime Commissioner agreed to help the government tackle car crime by
making contributions to its new Vehicle Crime Taskforce. The information
will run from 01/2018.

 

The subject matter relates to vehicle theft, vehicle security (as fitted
by manufacturers), theft methodology (security compromise).

 

The information is exchanges between WMP with your PCC, the Home Office
(Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft . This will include notes of
meetings attended and action to be taken, the dates and notes of briefings
between WMP and PCC relating to vehicle security compromise’; opinions and
evidence.

The PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ in 2019, it is possible WMP's
exchanges will extend to Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for Crime
and Policing.  WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

 

The force responded on 2^nd October 2023 and advised that the information
that you have requested is not held in a readily retrievable format.
Information relating to `Exchanges` between WMP and the PCC, the Home
Office (Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft is not held centrally or in an
electronically, or any other searchable format. It would require the FOI
unit to contact every employee that was in service from January 2018 and
ask them to search all records held by them in order to establish if any
relevant information was held.

Please be advised that `exchanges` would include all written and
electronic correspondence, including emails, letters, text messages,
WhatsApp messages, minutes from meetings etc. However, correspondence may
also be saved onto other force systems, dependent on its usage, or printed
and saved into a paper format or scanned and saved in an electronic
format. The scope of this request is so broad that in order to determine
any and all `exchanges` and communication on this subject matter, we would
need to conduct multiple manual searches of force systems and physical
locations used by West Midlands Police. Additionally, as you have asked
for correspondence between West Midlands Police and the Office of the
Police and Crime Commissioner, this would encompass any/all employees of
the force as a whole, and any/all employees of the OPCC, however, to
approach all employees in relation to this request would be a massive
undertaking. Similarly, a force-wide search of all email correspondence
would need to be conducted, however, emails pertaining to the requested
subject matter may not be easily or immediately identifiable, therefore,
an additional manual review of emails would need to be conducted in order
to determine which emails fell within the scope of this request.
Conducting these searches however, would exceed the appropriate limit
(FOIA, s.12). In addition, you have not provided the names or contact
details for any of the other organisations that fall within the scope of
the request - the Home Office (Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and
the Society of Motor Manufacturers and so we could not even start to
conduct searches in relation to these organisations.

 

Therefore, The cost of trying to identify and retrieve relevant
information, if any is held, is above the amount to which we are legally
required to respond. The cost of confirming or denying that the
information is held would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section
12(2) of the FOI Act 2000. It exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in
the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts
as a Refusal Notice for this request

 

Unfortunately, due to the reasons outlined above, I am unable to suggest
any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to
satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the
Regulations.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: 

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

 

 

REQUEST

You have requested an internal review of the force response on the
following basis:

You understand there have been exchanges relating to this very specific
topic instigated by the PCC and involving Mr Munro.

You believe that the request does not require the FOI unit to contact
every employee that was in service from January 2018 and ask them to
search all records held by them in order to establish if any relevant
information is held.

And you believe that the manner in which the request has been handled
appears intended to prevent disclosure.

RESPONSE

The response has now been reviewed and the force maintains that your
request was responded to on a proper basis.

In order to assist and to try and progress the request, I have contacted
you 3 times in order to get clarification of the specific information that
you were requesting. You had these opportunities to refine your request to
a manageable level. For your final submission, you advised that you
required exchanges between WMP with the PCC, the Home Office (Vehicle
Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers,
about vehicle security/theft. To include notes of meetings attended and
action to be taken, the dates and notes of briefings between WMP and PCC
relating to vehicle security compromise’ opinions and evidence. Including
the PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ in 2019,  WMP's exchanges with
Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for Crime and Policing, and that
WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

Due to the generic nature of the request and the number of correspondents
listed, in addition to the lack of specific named individuals, and the
nearly 6 year time-frame that the request covers means that to try and
identify relevant information that may be held for all aspects of the
request would require the searches outlined in our response to you, and
this is why Section 12(2) is engaged.

 

I hope that this is of assistance.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF

Link to their website: [3]FOI and EIR complaints | ICO

[4]Contact us | ICO

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mrs R Williams

FOI Manager

Lloyd House l West Midlands Police

Working in partnership, making communities safer

 

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.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...
2. https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-co...
3. https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/foi-...
4. https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

Precursor to FoIA request

14/09/2023 – interpreted as an FoIA request

From: P Swift
Sent: 14 September 2023 10:38
To: Data Protection <dataprotection@westmidlands.police.uk>
Cc: wmpcc@westmidlands.police.uk
Subject: SAR / FoI

I am seeking the personal data subsequent to my writing to you and your PCC.

Your response suggests some may fall to FoIA – in which case, please include this.

I have cc’d your PCC to ensure there is no ‘leakage’ – the FoIA request and SAR applies equally to WMP and PCC

I am content to restrict the information to the data post 03/2019 i.e. the information will relate to the submission and all exchanges with WMP since, to include your internal emails, those to the Home Office and between PCC/WMP

Proof of identity is attached though I question whether this is required in the circumstances.

I look forward to receiving all information on or before 14/10/2023

Yours

P. Swift

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

28/09/2023 from WMP

From: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>
Sent: 28 September 2023 12:00
To: P Swift
Subject: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

Dear Mr Swift

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23
I write in connection with your request for information which was submitted to the Civil Disclosure Unit on 14th September 2023. The CDU have advised that you wish to submit part of your correspondence as a FOI request:
`to include subsequent approaches about your ‘lead’ on vehicle crime with manufacturers and the Home Office with any more recent updates`

In order to be able to respond to your request I require further information from you. Please could you clarify what specific recorded information it is that you require.

After receiving your reply, your request will then be considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
However, if clarification has not been received in 40 working days I will assume that you no longer wish to proceed with this request and will treat it as withdrawn.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please e-mail the FOI Unit quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely
Mrs R Williams

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

29/09/2023 to WMP

From: P Swift
Sent: 29 September 2023 12:31
To: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>; Data Protection <dataprotection@westmidlands.police.uk>
Subject: [External]: RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of West Midlands Police. Do not click links or open attachments unless you are sure the content is safe.
Dear Sirs

14/09/2023 WMP raised my writing `to include subsequent approaches about your ‘lead’ on vehicle crime with manufacturers and the Home Office with any more recent updates’.

I anticipate that there will be personal data associated with the above, that having presented a detailed submission about vehicle crime to WMP PCC and the Home Office in 2019, I will have been the subject of exchanges between yourselves, consideration of my submission and reaction.

With regard to the FoIA aspect, you will likely be aware that I have previously sought exchanges on the subject, those that relate to WMP seemingly wishing to take a lead on vehicle crime, involving the Home Office and manufacturers.

https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-...

understandably, there will be exchanges between the PCC and WMP on the subject / actions.

I am seeking the more recent information

P. Swift
----------------------------------------------------------------------
29/09/2023 from WMP

From: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>
Sent: 29 September 2023 14:34
To: P Swift
Subject: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

Dear Mr Swift

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23
Thankyou for your response below.
Unfortunately it does not appear that you have outlined what specific recorded information it is that you require, and should you wish to proceed we will need this please.
The FOI Act covers requests for recorded information held by the force, and we require specific search parameters in order that we can allocate the request to the most appropriate department/s to research and retrieve information requested. The authority is not obliged to cross-reference other information, documents, and links etc in order to try and establish the specific information that an applicant requires. In this instance you have referenced `previously sought exchanges` and a link on the OPCC`s website. This does not constitute a request for specific recorded information under the Act, and in its current format we are unable to assist with your request.

Please also note that personal information is not available under FOI, therefore we would not be able to assist in the provision of correspondence submitted by you, or `exchanges` about you.

Should you wish to proceed with a request, please could you clarify what specific recorded information it is that you require

After receiving your reply, your request will then be considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
However, if clarification has not been received in 40 working days I will assume that you no longer wish to proceed with this request and will treat it as withdrawn.

Yours sincerely
Mrs R Williams

Rebecca Williams l FOI Manager
Lloyd House l West Midlands Police

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

29/09/2023 to WMP

From: P Swift
Sent: 29 September 2023 15:46
To: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>
Subject: [External]: RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of West Midlands Police. Do not click links or open attachments unless you are sure the content is safe.
Rebecca,

I am confused, but I seem to recall I sent this to the PCC at the same time and likely did myself no favours by doing so.

My interest is WMP’s ‘lead’ on vehicle crime with manufacturers and the Home Office. I am not sure I have sought this form WMP previously, so the ‘any more recent updates` applies to the PCC

So first things first, sorry for the confusion caused.

Understanding your PCC is the primary point of contact for the issue, was / is the ‘lead’ I have separately sought information from them.

However, I understand that the PCC obtained information from WMP with regard to theft methodology and figures. It is this exchange / information I am seeking from WMP. Whether you had any direct involvement with the Home Office I do not know. I understand there were meetings between the PCC, manufacturers and Home Office, if WMP attended, the request will include this.

Does that help, is this sufficient?

P. Swift
----------------------------------------------------------------------
29/09/2023 from WMP

From: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>
Sent: 29 September 2023 16:52
To: P Swift
Subject: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

Dear Mr Swift

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

Your e-mail correspondence below does not provide a specific request for information. It does not detail a time period. It does not identify a specific subject matter. It does not identify who within WMP you believe that the PCC obtained information from. It does not identify what you mean by `exchange`. You have not identified what meetings may be included in the scope of the request. You have not identified what manufacturers you refer to. You have not given any indication as to what role the Home Office or WMP would be undertaking in such meetings, where they were, or when they were.

I understand that the PCC obtained information from WMP with regard to theft methodology and figures. It is this exchange / information I am seeking from WMP.
I understand there were meetings between the PCC, manufacturers and Home Office, if WMP attended, the request will include this.

It is therefore very unlikely that we will be able to assist with your enquiry in its current format. Please confirm if this is the request that you are submitting.
After receiving your reply, your request will then be considered and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.
However, if clarification has not been received in 40 working days I will assume that you no longer wish to proceed with this request and will treat it as withdrawn.

Yours Sincerely

Mrs R Williams l FOI Manager
Lloyd House l West Midlands Police

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

29/09/2023 To WMP

From: P Swift
Sent: 29 September 2023 18:18
To: Freedom of Information <foi@westmidlands.police.uk>
Subject: RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: 1480A/23

I have placed to WDTK - https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...

P. Swift

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

to the ICO

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

MPS refer me to WMP

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...

MPS reply: SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within the MPS. The searches failed to locate any information relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is not held by the MPS.

Note: This is a meeting chaired by the policing minister, it is not MPS specific. The attendees from the Policing Side are the NPCC (I expect this is the NPCC Vehicle Crime Lead) and West Midlands Police.

Should you wish to enquire further, please contact NPCC / West Midlands Police.

This notice concludes your request for information. I would like to thank you for your interest in the MPS.

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

The vehicle crime task force met 01/2019.
The task force was to meet every 6 months but never met again.
It appears the obstruction I have encountered trying to obtain information about the task force, its activity and my submission, was intended to prevent revealing the activity assured never occurred - that the task force 'spearheaded' by WMP PCC didi nothing.
WMP were in attendance at the 01/2019 meeting.
It appears the submission I made 03/2019 was not acted upon.
I have identified an individual @ WMP who received my submission and recalled doing so.

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

NOT entitled to rely on S12:
04/06/2024 ICO Decision Notice Reference: IC-263061-P8L4

1. The complainant has requested information regarding vehicle crime and exchanges of correspondence regarding the Vehicle Crime Taskforce.
The above public authority (“the public authority”) relied on section 12 of FOIA (cost of compliance) to refuse the request.
2. The Commissioner’s decision is that the public authority was not entitled to rely on section 12(2) of FOIA to refuse the request.

Mr P Swift left an annotation ()

CAN rely on s12:
24/06/2024 ICO wrote to WMP, the Authority:
Your reference: 1480A/23 and 1503A/23
Our case reference: IC-263061-P8L4
Thank you for your recent email of 21 June 2024, asking for clarification on the recent decision notice we issued to you regarding the above.

Considering all the information, we would allow reliance on section 12(1), however you must ensure you consider the following in your response:

• Allow the complainant to make a fresh S50 complaint;-
• The Commissioner’s initial analysis of section 12(1) in this case assumes that identifying relevant information alone will not exceed the cost limit. You must then demonstrate that it is only the combination of all four permitted activities that would exceed the cost limit; and
• We will not allow you to use a new response as a way to re-argue the original decision.

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police

8 Attachments

Dear Mr Swift,

 

Our ref: 1480A/23 and 1503A/23

ICO ref: IC-263061-P8L4

 

Thank you for your request for information which was originally received
by this office on 29^th September 2023. Please find our reply as follows.

 

Request

 

I am seeking the information your constabulary possesses in relation to
your PCC taking the lead on vehicle crime in 2019. WMP and Crime
Commissioner agreed to help the government tackle car crime by making
contributions to its new Vehicle Crime Taskforce. The information will run
from the date of the agreement. It appears the information will run from
01/2018.

 

The subject matter relates to vehicle theft, vehicle security (as fitted
by manufacturers), theft methodology (security compromise).

 

The information is exchanges between WMP with your PCC, the Home Office
(Vehicle Crime Taskforce), manufacturers and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers, about vehicle security/theft. This will include notes of
meetings attended and action to be taken, the dates and notes of briefings
between WMP and PCC relating to vehicle security compromise’; opinions and
evidence.

 

The PCC appears to have written to ‘Mike’ in 2019, it is possible WMP's
exchanges will extend to Kit Malthouse, then Minister of State for Crime
and Policing. WMP’s officer associated is believed to be Jim Munro.

 

Response

 

We can confirm that we hold some information in the scope of this request.
However, our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to
provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit of the
Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, i.e., the cost of locating and
retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under
section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the
appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of
Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations
2004, S.I. 3244.

 

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

If any relevant exchanges between West Midlands Police and the bodies
specified in this request had taken place, this would not have been
through a single person or department. Instead, communication could have
taken place at multiple levels across the force and as a result,
information that might fall within the scope of this request could be held
in multiple locations.

 

Due to the broad nature of this request and the time period involved, it
is possible that this could require us to search within every department
across the force to be assured of identifying all relevant information.
However, it’s reasonable for us to assume that exchanges of this kind
would be very unlikely to have taken place between those bodies specified
and areas of the force such as local neighbourhood policing teams,
Professional Standards Department, Public Protection Unit etc. Therefore,
we limited our searches to only include the departments and key
individuals we deemed would be most likely to hold information of the type
requested. This included: The Force Executive Team, The Vehicle Crime
Team, Intelligence Department and Partnerships Crime Reduction Team.

 

From searches within these areas of the force, it was only possible to
locate and retrieve the following four pieces of information that relate
to this request*:

 

·      Two short email exchanges between Intel and the OPCC, each with an
intelligence summary attached concerning vehicle thefts.

 

·      Two documents outlining a proposed working agreement between West
Midlands Police and a motor vehicle manufacturer.

 

*It should be noted that due to the sensitive nature of the content
contained within the intelligence summaries, Section 31 (Law enforcement)
would likely apply to their release, and with regard to the proposed
working agreement, because it has not yet been approved and signed off,
Section 43 (Commercial interests) would likely apply.

 

Attempting to locate this information involved multiple enquiries,
conversations, phone calls and system searches which have been extensive.

 

It is clear from our enquiries though that more information is likely to
be held. However, there is no way for us to determine what and how much
information that might be without undertaking a manual review of
mailboxes. This would be all emails between key individuals and
departments identified from our enquiries above, with the individuals and
departments specified in this request.

 

It is not possible to give a precise calculation as to the time it would
take to review each single email for relevancy to this request, but it
would seem reasonable to suggest one minute per email.

 

With that in mind, we asked our IT Department (IT&D) to run two sample
searches in order to give us an idea of the scale of the task.

 

A search of email exchanges between five key WMP individuals identified in
our searches above, and the current and former West Midlands Police and
Crime Commissioners, produced the following results:

 

Search 1 - Number of emails between David Jamieson (PCC 2014-2021) and
specified WMP employees – 1,653 emails across the total period.

 

Search 2 - Number of emails between Simon Foster (Current PCC) and
specified WMP employees – 7,020 emails across the total period.

 

As you can see from the search above, exchanges between the PCCs and just
a small number of our employees we would need to search against would
require a search in excess of 140 hours. This alone would therefore far
exceed the appropriate limit under the FOI Act.

 

Keyword searches were considered to reduce the number of emails for manual
checks. However, given the scope of the information requested no word or
combination of words could be reasonably applied to sufficiently reduce
the number, whilst maintaining confidence that no relevant material had
been excluded.

 

In addition to this, email searches would also need to be conducted
against four former members of the Executive Team, as well as at least two
other senior members of staff. We would anticipate that these searches
would similarly produce thousands of results that would need individually
reviewing.

 

Furthermore, searches would need to be carried out on at least seven
officers in the current vehicle crime team which has been set up for
approximately 15 months. Prior to this, officers from the vehicle
taskforce (set up 2022) would need to be searched against. This taskforce
was force wide and therefore to accurately identify all officers that
might have been involved would be difficult. As would identifying all
officers that might have been involved in this business area prior to the
setting up of the taskforce.

 

It should also be noted that the sample searches carried out by IT&D above
relied on inputting the specific individuals email addresses. With regard
to searching against emails to/from external individuals and organisations
however, then without knowing the specific email addresses, it is not
possible for IT&D to carry out specific searches. This would mean
reviewing ALL emails to and from WMP employees that might have been
involved in this area.

 

All of these factors together go to demonstrate the huge scale of work
that would be required to meet the requirements of this request, and how
it would far and beyond exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

 

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is
above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the
cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the
appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West
Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by
the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and
Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

 

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

 

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

 

Unfortunately, due to the reasons outlined above, I am unable to suggest
any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to
satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the
Regulations. I am however willing to consider any refinements that you are
able to make to your request, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom
of Information Act.  If you would like to look into refining your request
please contact us.

 

 

Right of appeal

 

If you are dissatisfied with our decision, you may make application to the
[3]Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision on whether the request
for information has been dealt with in

accordance with the requirements of the Act. You should make application
to the ICO within six weeks of this response. The easiest way to do this
is through their website: [4]www.ico.org.uk/foicomplaints. Alternatively,
the ICO’s postal address is Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

 

If you require any further information, then please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

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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
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expressed in this email do not necessarily represent those of West
Midlands Police. All West Midlands Police email activity is monitored for
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arising in any way from the receipt or use of this email.

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Dear Freedom of Information,

I am writing to express my concern and dissatisfaction with the handling of my request for information related to vehicle theft in the West Midlands. Contrary to your response, I believe the relevant exchanges between West Midlands Police (WMP) and the specified bodies in my request would have been managed by a limited number of personnel. My request is not broad in nature; it is targeted and specific.
I have already established that the Vehicle Crime Taskforce (VCT) led by your Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) received scant attention. The VCT met in early 2019 and, despite intentions to meet every six months, has not met again.
You have identified some information pertinent to my request, which I now formally request as follows:
A. Please provide the identified information. If necessary, consider this a new request. The nature of my request is restricted, with a limited time period.
The VCT was established due to a significant increase in vehicle theft in the West Midlands. On January 15, 2019, the VCT met, prompted by a tripling of car thefts since 2015. On January 22, 2019, David Jamieson (then PCC) spearheaded a countrywide campaign addressing security weaknesses in keyless cars. The VCT was to work on improving vehicle security standards, introducing tough new procedures for the salvage industry, and restricting the sale of tools used to steal vehicles.
Source: West Midlands PCC Website
I understand that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was not represented at the VCT meeting. Therefore:
B. Who from WMP attended the VCT meeting, and have their emails been subjected to a meaningful search?
Four years after the VCT meeting, vehicle thefts have significantly increased, rising by almost 50% from 8,444 in 2019 to 12,429 last year. This suggests either inaction or ineffective action by the VCT.
Sources:
• Aremco Barriers
• Birmingham Mail
C. Why would it be necessary to search every department across the force?
D. Why do you assume that exchanges of this kind are unlikely to have taken place between the specified bodies?
Given the limited information located:
E. Why was a wider search not conducted?
You have already located two short email exchanges and two documents outlining a proposed working agreement between WMP and a motor vehicle manufacturer. Section 31 (Law enforcement) and Section 43 (Commercial interests) were cited but not conclusively applied.
F. Please provide these documents.
These documents will assist in conducting a more focused search. Despite your claim of extensive enquiries, your response indicates limited searches.
G. Please provide the records of approaches and responses received.
H. Why is more information likely to be held based on your enquiries?
I. How many key individuals are in the few departments identified from your enquiries?
J. Why is it not possible to calculate the time needed to review a single email for relevance to this request?
K. Why would a word/phrase/Boolean search for a given period not assist?
L. Why would it not be reasonable to suggest one minute per email?
Your response on October 2, 2023, stated that my request would require a force-wide search of all email correspondence, which you deemed a massive undertaking. However, a sample search by your IT Department found 1,653 emails between David Jamieson and specified WMP employees and 7,020 emails between Simon Foster and specified WMP employees.
M. Please advise the time frame for these searches.
N. Please explain why you provided the number of emails instead of the requested information.
My request is for specific information related to the PCC's lead on vehicle crime in 2019, the VCT, vehicle theft, vehicle security, and theft methodology. A targeted search using key phrases like "Vehicle Crime Taskforce" should be feasible.
O. Why was this not attempted, and the results provided?
Your conduct appears contradictory to maintaining confidence that no relevant material has been excluded. Rather than providing some information, you have chosen to provide none, despite being aware that information is held.
I propose modifying my request to identify specific individuals within a given period using keywords/phrases. Given the increase in vehicle crime since 2019, it is crucial to understand what WMP has done to address this issue.
In support of a lackluster approach, I understand that a 2019 VCT recommendation was to record theft methodology. Despite this, WMP still does not record methodology, attributing vehicle theft to security bypass due to electronic interference by organized criminals.
WMP's difficulty in locating information and the scattered nature of material is concerning. The increase in vehicle crime warranted attention and action in 2019. Your disjointed (if any) approach may have contributed to the proliferation of these crimes.
My request dates from March 29, 2023, and has faced obstruction from the start. The ICO directed a response by June 24, 2024, yet I have waited over 20 working days. Your response does not meet the ICO's direction.
Please reconsider your approach and provide the information to help understand WMP's actions regarding vehicle crime since 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Mr P Swift

Freedom of Information, West Midlands Police



Thank you for your e-mail, you have contacted the Freedom of Information
(FOI) Unit.

Valid FOI requests will be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. We will endeavour to provide a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days, 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. In all cases we shall attempt to deal
with your request at the earliest opportunity.

What can I not access under FOI?
You will not be able to access information:

  *   about yourself. This is a Subject Access
Request<[1]https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/abou...>
(SAR)
  *   about third parties
  *   about your police record
  *   to access legal aid
  *   for employment purposes
  *   for civil proceedings
  *   for insurance requests
  *   in relation to police certificates for the purpose of emigration,
visas and residency
If you want to make a request on any of the above, visit our website to
find out how: [2]Request | West Midlands Police

or make contact with the 'Live Chat' team on the force website who will be
able to assist you further.
[3]https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/cont...

Working in partnership, making communities safer
If it’s not 999, search WMP
Online<[4]https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/>

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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