003/21 - Osman warning notices

Date Responded 21 January 2021

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

1. How many Osman warning notices, also known as threat to life notices, did your force issue between 1/1/2020 and 31/12/2020. How many were issued to individuals less than 18 years old? How many were issued to men and how many to women? Please state the age in years of the youngest individual to receive such a notice during this period

2. How many Osman warning notices, also known as threat to life notices, did your force issue between 1/1/2019 and 31/12/2019? How many were issued to individuals less than 18 years old? How many were issued to men and how many to women? Please state the age in years of the youngest individual to receive such a notice during this period

3. How many Osman warning notices, also known as threat to life notices, did your force issue between 1/1/2018 and 31/12/2018? How many were issued to individuals less than 18 years old? How many were issued to men and how many to women? Please state the age in years of the youngest individual to receive such a notice during this period

4. How many Osman warning notices, also known as threat to life notices, did your force issue between 1/1/2017 and 31/12/2017? How many were issued to individuals less than 18 years old? How many were issued to men and how many to women? Please state the age in years of the youngest individual to receive such a notice during this period

 

In Response:

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

1. Number of threat to life notices issued between 01/01/2020 and 31/12/2020:

Males 22
Females 1
Under 18 none

2. Number of threat to life notices issued between 01/01/2019 and 31/12/2019:

Males 43
Females 8
Under 18 1


As the information you have requested, at points 3 and 4 is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for those parts your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

This information has been asked for previously, released and is published on the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log. For 2018 data FOI 535/19 refers, and for 2017 data FOI 95/18 refers and the link to the Log is provided below.

The specific ages of those under 18 will not be disclosed and by withholding we cite the following exemptions:

Section 40(2) - Personal Information
Section 31(1) – Law Enforcement
Section 38(1) – Health and Safety

Section 40 is an absolute, class-based exemption there is no requirement for us to evidence the harm in disclosure or apply a public interest test. Any information which relates to third parties, if disclosed, would breach the data protection principles of the Data Protection Act.

As Section 31 and Section 38 are prejudice-based, qualified exemptions there is the requirement for us to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether information is held as well as considering the public interest test.

Harm

In order to prevent and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety, the public expect Northumbria Police along with all other forces and other law enforcement agencies to use all powers and tactics available. Police forces and intelligence agencies are reliant upon the flow of information and to disclose the names of those officers whose role is covert, undercover or operationally sensitive would have a substantial prejudicial impact on the ability of such authorities to collect reliable and accurate intelligence. This would cause subsequent harm to the Police service’s ability to protect the public it serves and could prejudice its ability to perform core functions such as the prevention and detection of crime. By disclosing such specific information to the public, it would put information into the public domain that could identify those persons we are trying to protect from harm.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure - Section 31
Disclosure of this information would allow the public to better informed and understand the resources available to Northumbria Police as it seeks to continue the prevention and detection of crime or disorder and to maintain public safety.

Factors Against Disclosure - Section 31
Disclosing such information would greatly compromise law enforcement tactics by potentially identifying those that are under threat. This would have an impact on Law Enforcement and further encourage the unlawful practices of criminals. Any increase in crime committed would have an impact on other police resources, thereby hindering the prevention and detection of crime.

Factors Favouring Disclosure - Section 38
Disclosing this information, would allow members of the public would be better informed about the measures taken by Northumbria Police, to actively seek to prevent and detect crime or disorder and protect the community it serves.

Factors against Disclosure - Section 38
Disclosing such information would lead to the identification of those who have been identified as at risk and therefore place them at further risk of harm. This could also impact on the safety of any associates of those individuals. If compromised, in turn there will be a potential increase in the risk of harm, to the public at large

Balance Test

Northumbria Police are tasked with protecting the community we serve and solving crime and there is a public interest argument in ensuring we are open and transparent with regard to policing investigations and operations. There is no doubt that for the issues outlined above, any disclosure of such information would jeopardise those important roles and place the individuals at serious risk of harm. Therefore it is our opinion that the balance of the public interest favours withholding the information.

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.

 

 

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