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Date Responded 21 April 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:

I would like to find out about the use of IBM's I2 Analysts' Notebook software within the Northumbrian Police force.

Could you please tell me:

  1. Is it still used within the police force?
  2. What teams, organisations or other structures within the force utilise it if so?
  3. When was the first licence procured?
  4. What was the original budget justification for the original purchase?
  5. What is the most recent budget justification for its continued use if still in service?
  6. What internal team or third-party provider provides training if any?

In Response:

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

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

1.  Yes.

2. A response to this part will not be provided and by withholding we rely on the following exemptions.

Section 24(2) National Security

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Evidence of Harm

Modern day policing is intelligence led and law enforcement depends upon the development of intelligence and the gathering of security and evidence in order to disrupt criminal behaviour and bring offenders to justice.  As criminals adapt and exploit new technology, the police need to respond by overcoming hi-tech barriers in order to meet their responsibilities. 

In Q2 the information requested relates to disclosing “What teams, organisations or other structures within the force utilise it if so?”

Providing this information would reveal to perpetrators how this technology is being used and which areas are being focused on. If this question is posed to other police forces a mosaic effect could made, highlighting perceived ‘soft’ areas that could be exploited and ‘difficult’ areas to avoid.  This would undermine the process of preventing or detecting crime and the prosecution of offenders.  

Public Interest Considerations for S31(1)(a)(b) Law Enforcement

Factors favouring Disclosure

Disclosure of the information would raise the general public’s awareness that the police are effectively training officers to utilise IBM i2 in order to maximise the forces ability to counteract hi tech criminal activity.

Factors favouring Non-Disclosure

The current and future law enforcement role of the force may be compromised by the release of this information having a negative impact on the effectiveness of the force.

In this case, for the reasons outlined in the evidenced harm, the effectiveness of current and future strategies when carrying out investigations and gathering evidence may be compromised.

The personal safety of individuals and the general public is of paramount importance to the Police Service and must be considered in response of every release.  A disclosure under Freedom of Information is a release to the world and, in this case, disclosing details of the teams who use IBM i2 would undermine the detection and evidence gathering process of police operations in many areas of criminality.

Balancing Test

As always the Freedom of Information Act has a presumption of disclosure, unless when balancing the competing public interest factors prejudice to the community outweighs the benefits.  In this case, there is an argument for disclosure, inasmuch as the public have a right to know that every effort is made to monitor and gather all relevant evidence of criminal activity, but this must be balanced against the negative impact these disclosures can make.  

Law Enforcement is reliant on intelligence and evidence gathering and when it is appropriate, information is given to the public.  What has been established in this case is the fact that disclosure of which departments/teams use IBM i2 technologies would have an adverse effect on the prevention or detection of crime and the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.  This places the public at greater risk to becoming victims of crime and is not an action the Police Service would be willing to take.  These negatives outweigh any tangible public benefit and therefore the balance does not favour disclosure at this time.

3. No information held as this information is not recorded, however we can advise it was prior to 2001.

4. No information held as this information is not recorded.

5. No information held as this information is not recorded.

6. IBM.

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