Notification requirements - 138/15
Dated: 05 Mar 2015
Date of request: 08/02/15
Date of response: 05/03/15
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 8 Febuary 2015 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
I would like information relevant to the following questions:
1. How many individuals have been made subject to notification requirements to your force under Part 4 of the Terrorism Act 2008? Please give a breakdown indicating which month/year they became subject to these notification requirements since 1/10/09.
2. How many breaches/infringements has your force recorded of these notification requirements under Part 4 of the Terrorism Act 2008 since 1/10/09? Please give a breakdown including:
a) The month/year of the breach / infringement
b) A summary of the nature / circumstances of the breach / infringement
c) The action taken as a result e.g. arrest, prosecution, fine or imprisonment
Please indicate any breaches / infringements which involved the same individual.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
With regard to the numbers of individuals subject to notification requirements and details of breaches of those requirements. The information requested is exempt by virtue of S31(1) Law Enforcement and S24(1) National Security.
Both of these exemptions are Prejudice and Qualified based, which means that evidence of harm and the public interest needs to be articulated.
Harm in Disclosure
It is not in the public interest to disclose that a certain number of convicted terrorists live in a particular area. To disclose numbers of indiviuals in breach of a part 4 order, who have been arrested and gone throught the judicial process, will be a disclosure of intelligence useful to a terrorist. The effect will be to map capabilities in various force areas and a clear picture could be produced showing where counter terrorism resources are concentrated and operate. If this information was provided over an extended period, terrorist groups could draw conclusions on any increase or decrease in staffing levels, leading to possible identification of ongoing operations or changes in proactive focus of forces. The usefulness of this data can be even more impactive when linked to other information gathered from sources by the terrorist. These can include media releases, high profile investigations and the tactical infrastructure of a force area. Any incident that results from such a disclosure will then by default have an impact on national security.
In addition to the above considerations, if numbers of individuals subject to a part 4 order were low, disclosure may lead to the identification of an individual. There may be court orders in place regarding the disclosure of personal details and Northumbria Police would not contravene any such orders as to do so could lead to litigation against the Force.
Factors Favouring Disclosure.
The disclosure of the figures will show that the force takes seriously its counter terrorist functions and deploys resources accordingly.
The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and by disclosing this information the public would be able to see where public money is being spent and know that forces are doing as much as they can to combat terrorism.
Better public awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the public as they may be more observant in reporting suspicious
Factors favouring Non-Disclosure S31
By disclosing the information law enforcement tactics would be compromised which would hinder the prevention and detection of terrorist
crime. More crime would be committed because the terrorists would know which forces had less Counter Terrorism capability and capacity
and individuals would therefore be placed at higher risk. A fear of crime would be realised because if terrorists identified weaknesses,
they would target and exploit these areas and the public would be in fear of more terrorist activity occurring. There would be an impact on police
resources because any increased activity as a result of that either real or perceived weakness will mean the diversion of other resources or a
reduction in the capability of the force.
Factors favouring Non-Disclosure S24
Any disclosure which may increase the risk of harm being caused in the public arena is not desirable. By disclosing this information would
render Security measures less effective. This would lead to the compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or
infra-structure of the UK. The risk of harm to the public would be increased if the location of either real or perceived vulnerable areas of the UK
were made public as this would provide opportunity for terrorist planning. Ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infrastructure of
the UK would be compromised as terrorists could map across the country the level of counter-terrorist
activity, giving them the knowledge of force’s individual capabilities. Fear of detection is an important tool in preventing incidents taking place.
The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police service will not divulge information if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk, undermine Law enforecement or undermine National Security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and in this case providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by a terrorist attack, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of lawenforecement and operations in the highly sensitive area of terrorism.
As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. Counter Terrorism measures are high-profile sensitive issues and of intelligence value to the terrorist and therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for disclosing the information requested is not made out.
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under section 17 of the Act for these parts your request.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.