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Police Officer Details - 698/20

Date Responded 29 June 2020

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:

Please provide a complete list of all current police officers, to include:
Employee
Collar/Badge Number
Surname
Forename
Grade

On 3 June 2020 we asked that you clarify what you meant by “employee” in your request. “Are you referring to all employees as well as Police Officers? Or is it collar/badge numbers you are seeking for officers or something else?”

On 19 June 2020 you provided the following clarification of your request:
Badge numbers and names of police officers - which you will refuse under various exemptions.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the People Services Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria.

Please see the attached document which provides the requested details for all Officers with the rank of Chief Inspector and above that are in overt roles. Some of this information is already available in the public domain and can also be located on our website via the following link for example:
https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about-us/who-we-are/executive-team/


Details regarding any Officers within covert roles and any Officers below the ranks of Chief Inspector will not be disclosed and by withholding this information we will rely on the following exemptions:

Section 31(1)(a) - Law Enforcement
Section 38(1)(a) & (b) - Health & Safety
Section 40(2) - Personal Information

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 information to the public, it would dissuade officers from taking up covert, undercover or sensitive roles and impact the ability of Northumbria Police to prevent and detect certain offences, which would in turn lead to members of the public being at an increased risk of harm.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure - Section 31(a)
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. It could also serve to reassurance the public that adequate resources are in place to protect the Community.

Factors Against Disclosure - Section 31(a)
Disclosing such information would greatly compromise law enforcement tactics by identifying officers within covert, undercover or sensitive roles. Thereby greatly influencing the valuable purpose of this resource and 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 Police Officers, who have by the nature of the role that they perform, placed them at a severe risk of harm. Not only is there a personal risk to those specific officers, who may be particularly vulnerable, but also 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

There is much information within the public domain confirming that Police Forces use officers in covert, undercover and sensitive roles. These officers assist with criminal investigations and the effective delivery of law enforcement. The Police is 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.

 

Police Officer Details - 698/20

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