Workshops to Raise Awareness of Prevent

Kevin Blowe made this Freedom of Information request to Greater Manchester 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 refused by Greater Manchester Police.

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Officers from Greater Manchester Police are delivering Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training sessions to public sector staff on the government's counter-terrorism Prevent strategy and 'radicalisation'.

I would be grateful for a copy of the standard presentation your officers currently deliver and clarification on the examples of 'domestic extremism' that they have highlighted when talking to participants (not simply 'left-wing extremism' or 'right-wing extremism' but the specific examples of campaigns or groups), during training held since January 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Greater Manchester Police

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In response to:




Freedom of Information request - Workshops to Raise Awareness of Prevent

Kevin Blowe
to:
FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
19/10/2015 14:08
Show Details

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Officers from Greater Manchester Police are delivering Workshop to Raise
Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training sessions to public sector staff on the
government's counter-terrorism Prevent strategy and 'radicalisation'.

I would be grateful for a copy of the standard presentation your officers
currently deliver and clarification on the examples of 'domestic extremism'
that they have highlighted when talking to participants (not simply
'left-wing extremism' or 'right-wing extremism' but the specific examples
of campaigns or groups), during training held since January 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

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

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Greater Manchester Police

1 Attachment

Dear Kevin Blowe,

On behalf of GMP I am very sorry for the delay in responding to your
request. Unfortunately, the unit is currently experiencing difficulties
and we thank you for your patients, please see attached response.

Regards

Caroline

Caroline Barker
Information Compliance and Records Management Unit
Information Services Branch - Business Operations
Greater Manchester Police
c/o Openshaw Complex, Lawton Street, Manchester M11 2NS

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297519 email]>
To: FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
<[Greater Manchester Police request email]>
Date: 19/10/2015 14:08
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Workshops to Raise Awareness of
Prevent

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

Dear Greater Manchester Police,

Officers from Greater Manchester Police are delivering Workshop to Raise
Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training sessions to public sector staff on
the government's counter-terrorism Prevent strategy and 'radicalisation'.

I would be grateful for a copy of the standard presentation your officers
currently deliver and clarification on the examples of 'domestic
extremism' that they have highlighted when talking to participants (not
simply 'left-wing extremism' or 'right-wing extremism' but the specific
examples of campaigns or groups), during training held since January 2015.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

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

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #297519 email]

Is [Greater Manchester Police request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to Greater Manchester Police? If so, please contact
us using this form:
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

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

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Dear Greater Manchester Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Greater Manchester Police's handling of my FOI request 'Workshops to Raise Awareness of Prevent'.

In refusing my request for the standard presentation for WRAP training, you have indicated that releasing this information into the public domain risks it being taken out of context, or without authorisation in an uncontrolled fashion, which could allegedly discredit the training. You also claim disclosure could “provide useful information to extremists who wish to radicalise others about how public sector workers are trained to spot the signs of vulnerability”.

However, there is clearly always a risk any document released under Freedom of Information legislation by any public body may be used in way that it cannot control, or that may be used to discredit it – especially if relates to policy that is controversial.

The fact that any resulting scrutiny might also lead future participants in a training session to raise questions about the information they are provided is hardly unique to law enforcement (and surely a positive step).

Furthermore, as there has been documented instances of WRAP trainers wrongly labeling legitimate campaigning activity as 'extremist', there is a compelling public interest in knowing what precise examples of 'domestic extremism' (a quite separate issue from 'terrorism') are given to training participants in the North West region, as there is a considerable risk that the inaccurate impression participants are left with might lead to an unwarranted investigations into any form of political dissent (such as opposition to shale gas 'fracking', for example). This would run counter to Prevent's purported promotion of the ‘British Value’ of democracy.

In addition, since the introduction of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act in April 2015, all of the estimated 5.4 million people employed in the public sector in the UK have a statutory duty to participate in Prevent and report on alleged signs of radicalisation. In the north east region, around 19% of those in employment – 602,000 people – worked in the public sector in 2014, according to the Office of National Statistics.

This means there are potentially tens of thousands of people within your area who will pass through WRAP training sessions at some point and will see the standard presentations delivered by each force.

What you appear to want to create is thus a first for information retention and data transparency – a 'secret' document that has been widely viewed by members of the public who are neither part of law enforcement or the intelligence services.

The idea that non-disclosure is all that stands in the way of 'extremists' finding out about 'signs of vulnerability' is therefore incomprehensible: the only way to achieve this would be to screen every WRAP training participant for any sign of extremism before they can take part, so they cannot lay eyes on the secret, supposedly sensitive presentation. Bearing in mind how imprecise the definition of 'domestic extremism' remains, this is obviously impossible. Unsurprisingly, I have spoken to several public sector workers who have sat uncomfortably through a WRAP training session, listening to a Prevent trainer disparaged their lawful campaigning activities as a supposed threat to public order.

I believe you have therefore misapplied Section 24(2) on National Security and Section 31(3) on Law Enforcement for the precise data that I have requested on WRAP training, for the reasons I have outlined.

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

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Blowe

Greater Manchester Police

Dear Mr Blowe

This email is to acknowledge your request for an internal review in
relation to your Freedom of Information request.

Your request has been forwarded to the relevant section of this unit for
processing.

Many thanks

Amanda Ratcliffe
Information Compliance & Records Management Assistant

From: Kevin Blowe <[FOI #297519 email]>
To: FOI requests at Greater Manchester Police
<[Greater Manchester Police request email]>
Date: 03/02/2016 15:06
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Workshops to
Raise Awareness of Prevent

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

     Dear Greater Manchester Police,
   
    Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
    Information reviews.
   
    I am writing to request an internal review of Greater Manchester
    Police's handling of my FOI request 'Workshops to Raise Awareness
    of Prevent'.
   
    In refusing my request for the standard presentation for WRAP
    training, you have indicated that releasing this information into
    the public domain risks it being taken out of context, or without
    authorisation in an uncontrolled fashion, which could allegedly
    discredit the training. You also claim disclosure could “provide
    useful information to extremists who wish to radicalise others
    about how public sector workers are trained to spot the signs of
    vulnerability”.
   
    However, there is clearly always a risk any document released under
    Freedom of Information legislation by any public body may be used
    in way that it cannot control, or that may be used to discredit it
    – especially if relates to policy that is controversial.
   
    The fact that any resulting scrutiny might also lead future
    participants in a training session to raise questions about the
    information they are provided is hardly unique to law enforcement
    (and surely a positive step).
   
    Furthermore, as there has been documented instances of WRAP
    trainers wrongly labeling legitimate campaigning activity as
    'extremist', there is a compelling public interest in knowing what
    precise examples of 'domestic extremism' (a quite separate issue
    from 'terrorism') are given to training participants in the North
    West region, as there is a considerable risk that the inaccurate
    impression participants are left with might lead to an unwarranted
    investigations into any form of political dissent (such as
    opposition to shale gas 'fracking', for example). This would run
    counter to Prevent's purported promotion of the ‘British Value’ of
    democracy.
   
    In addition, since the introduction of the Counter Terrorism and
    Security Act in April 2015, all of the estimated 5.4 million people
    employed in the public sector in the UK have a statutory duty to
    participate in Prevent and report on alleged signs of
    radicalisation. In the north east region, around 19% of those in
    employment – 602,000 people – worked in the public sector in 2014,
    according to the Office of National Statistics.
   
    This means there are potentially tens of thousands of people within
    your area who will pass through WRAP training sessions at some
    point and will see the standard presentations delivered by each
    force.
   
    What you appear to want to create is thus a first for information
    retention and data transparency – a 'secret' document that has been
    widely viewed by members of the public who are neither part of law
    enforcement or the intelligence services.
   
    The idea that non-disclosure is all that stands in the way of
    'extremists' finding out about 'signs of vulnerability' is
    therefore incomprehensible: the only way to achieve this would be
    to screen every WRAP training participant for any sign of extremism
    before they can take part, so they cannot lay eyes on the secret,
    supposedly sensitive presentation. Bearing in mind how imprecise
    the definition of 'domestic extremism' remains, this is obviously
    impossible. Unsurprisingly, I have spoken to several public sector
    workers who have sat uncomfortably through a WRAP training session,
    listening to a Prevent trainer disparaged their lawful campaigning
    activities as a supposed threat to public order.
   
    I believe you have therefore misapplied Section 24(2) on National
    Security and Section 31(3) on Law Enforcement for the precise data
    that I have requested on WRAP training, for the reasons I have
    outlined.
   
    A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
    available on the Internet at this address:
   
[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...
   
    Yours faithfully,
   
    Kevin Blowe
   
   
   
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
    [FOI #297519 email]
   
    Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
    published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
    [2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
   
    For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read
    the latest advice from the ICO:
    [3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
   
    If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your
    web manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
   
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
Manchester Police for a less urgent matter call 101.
For the latest news and information about your Neighbourhood Policing Team
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YouTube: www.youtube.com/gmpolice

You can find your local policing team on social media at
www.gmp.police.uk/socialmedia.
Download our smartphone app from the App Store or Google Play
www.gmp.police.uk/apps

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Greater Manchester Police

Dear Mr Blowe,

 

I write in response to your request for a review dated 3^rd February 2015
of the handling of your Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) request
dated 19^th October 2015.

 

In your request for review you have expressed dissatisfaction with the
response to your FOI request caused by the application of exemptions
Section 40, Section 24(1) and Section 31(1), and challenge the basis on
which exemptions from disclosure have been used.

 

A comprehensive case for and against disclosure of the requested
information was presented to you in your reply. The response to your
request confirmed that the information is held and stated that there are a
number of foreseeable risks if released into the public domain; namely
that releasing this information into the public domain risks

o it being taken out of context, or used without authorisation in an
uncontrolled fashion, which could discredit WRAP training and
disengagement of partners, subsequently leading to fewer referrals
o it providing useful information to extremists who wish to radicalise
others about how public sector workers are trained to spot the signs
of vulnerability. Such extremists would then be able to provide advice
to those they wish to radicalise on changing behaviour to avoid
detection and potential referral to Prevent programmes such as
Channel.

 

In your request for review, you respond by stating that there is always a
risk that any document released under Freedom of Information legislation
by any public body may be used in way that it cannot control, or that may
be used to discredit it– especially if relates to policy that is
controversial. You further state that there is a compelling public
interest in knowing what precise examples of 'domestic extremism' are
given to training participants in the North West region, as there is a
considerable risk that the inaccurate impression participants are left
with might lead to an unwarranted investigations into any form of
political dissent, giving the example of opposition to shale gas
'fracking'.

 

You conclude your request for review by stating you believe GMP have
misapplied Section 24(1) on National Security and Section 31(1) on Law
Enforcement for the precise data that I have requested on WRAP training,
for the reasons I have outlined.

 

A review of the handling of a Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
requests involves assessing all steps in the processing of a request for
compliance with the FOIA and aims to identify potential improvements in
the processing of future FOIA requests and/or take corrective actions
where necessary.

 

You have requested the following information in relation to Workshop to
Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training sessions delivered to public
sector staff on the government’s counter-terrorism Prevent strategy and
radicalisation;

 

‘a copy of the standard presentation officers currently deliver and
clarification on the examples of domestic extremism that they have
highlighted when talking to participants (not simply left-wing extremism
or right-wing extremism but the specific examples of campaigns or groups),
during training held since January 2015.’

 

Initially I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to you.
The response to your request cited exemptions Section 40 Personal
Information; prejudice based and qualified exemptions Section 24(1)
National Security and Section 31(1) Law enforcement to all requested
information.

 

Arguments favoring disclosure were considered in the response to you and
included; a general public interest in the disclosure, promotion of:
Openness in government and increased public trust, encouraging public
debate and helping the public understand in greater depth how the
government is responding to the threat posed from terrorism; raise public
awareness of Prevent leading to vulnerable people being identified and
receiving support through Prevent where opportunities to identify concerns
may not otherwise present themselves.

 

The reply concluded by stating that the public interest is best served by
maintaining the exemptions and withholding the information from
disclosure.  PIT tests for exemptions section 24 and 31 also concluded
with maintaining exemptions to best serve the public interest.

 

Success of early intervention initiatives like Prevent largely relies
public trust and confidence in the integrity of the initiative and in
being able to assure all parties (agencies, staff, referees, referred or
otherwise) of the security and privacy afforded to the referral process
lifecycle, and techniques employed. Stringent control measures such as
controlled access to materials and referrals limited to Home Office
accredited Prevent Officers are in place. Such controls ensure integrity
is maintained and instil trust and confidence in the Prevent program and
contribute to its success.

 

Following a review of your request, I believe the information you have
requested is exempt from our obligations in Section 1.1 of the FOIA and
have therefore upheld the use of and justification applied to balancing
factors for and against disclosure, accounting for the public interest.

 

To address your points further; you make valid arguments regarding
discrediting and taking out of context any information disclosed by public
authorities under the FOIA, however, when assessing information for
possible disclosure under FOIA, the information is assessed to identify
implications of misuse when in the public domain and depending on the
risks identified a decision regarding disclosure is made, therefore
information is disclosed on a case by case basis following a risk
assessment. Disclosure of the requested information would release into the
public domain: specific details of the processes and parties involved in
Prevent, and early intervention techniques employed in the safeguarding
effort, and as stated in the initial response to you, these details could
be used to perform a Prevent capability and techniques assessment by a
person/group with intent and further be incorporated into any
radicalisation plan thus rendering counter terrorism efforts of Prevent
ineffective, therefore, when the information is taken out of (a
safeguarding) context it ultimately discredits Prevent.

 

Current access controls afforded to Prevent processes maintain its
credibility as an early intervention initiative whereby persons/groups
with intent are not able to develop countermeasures to safeguarding
techniques; disclosure bypasses critical access controls and releases
processes, techniques and parties involved in Prevent which presents
adverse implications for local law enforcement and national security with
the potential to cause unnecessary alarm and distress to historically
referred/rehabilitated subjects. Furthermore, disclosure of the requested
information would further deter future referrals by creating the
perception of a relaxed approach to discretion and confidentiality, for an
initiative that relies on public trust, disclosure would result in
irreversible reputational damage to its integrity as a credible early
intervention safeguarding initiative able to safeguard the details of
parties involved.

 

To conclude, under the FOIA, when considering the abovementioned risks the
requested information is exempt information by virtue of Section 31.1(a)
Law Enforcement, implications of possible onwards misuse when taken out of
context on a national scale prejudice the safeguarding of national
security therefore justifying the application of Section 24.1 National
Security. Due to references made throughout the presentation to personal
information relating to parties involved in the Prevent strategy, the
requested information contains exempt information by virtue of Section 40
Personal Information whereby disclosure would breach principles of the
Data Protection Act 1998.

 

I appreciate your proposal for the public interest in knowing what precise
examples of 'domestic extremism' are given to training participants and
that the possibility that an inaccurate impression of 'domestic extremism'
may lead to unwarranted investigations into any form of political dissent,
however training of any discipline carries the same risk, in that each
participant will take away a personal interpretation of the subject matter
presented, that may differ from the intended message. To mitigate against
such risks affecting a referral outcome, each referral to Prevent is
managed on a case by case basis by trained staff and a stringent process
prior to referral is followed. Unfortunately I agree with your comment
that non-disclosure alone does not stand in the way of preventing
radicalisation; however it does serve the public interest in contributing
towards preventing radicalisation and GMP will not contribute towards
placing the citizens of Greater Manchester or the UK into undue risk by
disclosing safeguarding techniques and processes. You may however find
further information relating to processes and further details relating to
Channel and Prevent at the following URLs of some use:

 

[1]Channel General Awareness Course

 

[2]Counter Terrorism: Prevent

 

Should you wish to raise any instances where it is perceived that
legitimate campaigning activity has been labelled as 'extremist', you may
lodge a complaint with our Professional Standards branch at the following
URL:

 

[3]Complain to GMP

 

I trust you are satisfied with the outcome of your review and this letter
has helped to clarify the initial response and application of exemptions,
if not you may refer the matter to the ICO whose details are noted below:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Phone:  01625 545 700

 

[4]http://ico.org.uk/

 

Should you have any further queries in relation to your request or related
matters, please do not hesitate to correspond with me using the contact
details below.

 

Yours sincerely,

Khalid Mahmood
Information Compliance & Records Management Officer
Information Services Branch - Information Management
Greater Manchester Police

 

Postal Address: c/o Openshaw Complex, Lawton Street, Openshaw, Manchester,
M11 2NS

 

Tel: 0161 856 9924 

Ext: 69924 

[mobile number]        

Follow us on Twitter: @gmpolice

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To contact the police in an emergency call 999 or to contact Greater
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