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Date Responded 23 July 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:

1. A copy of the most recent piece of literature providing training material to your police force regarding the use of Taser. By literature I mean everything including curriculum information, lesson plans, learning outcomes, PowerPoints, assessments, and qualification shoots.

2. A copy of the most recent guidance provided to your force by the College of Policing or the National Police Chiefs' Council regarding the user of Taser.

On the 4th June you then submitted a further question as below.

3. Is the use of Taser mentioned in your force's code of practice, if so then please include the section in writing.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Operations 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&2. As some of the information you have requested at these points is accessible by other means I have not provided you with copies of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for these 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.

Information is freely available from the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council – in order to aid and assist you further I have provided the relevant links below:
https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/armed-policing/conducted-energy-devices-taser/#training
https://www.npcc.police.uk/ThePoliceChiefsBlog/NPCCQuestionsandAnswersonTaser.aspx

In addition, we will not be providing any of the additional information requested and will be relying on the following exemption:

Section 31(1)(a)(b) Law Enforcement

Harm

To disclose training materials in regards to taser training would reveal tactical information and as such risks unmasking techniques used that may compromise the effective deployment and deterrent use of taser.

Factors favouring disclosure - Section 31

The public are entitled to know how public funds are used and by disclosing this information would reveal to the public that there are effective measures in place to ensure that the police are well trained and prepared to counter crime effectively and robustly.

Factors against disclosure - Section 31

Disclosure of the information would lead to law enforcement capabilities being compromised which would hinder the prevention and detection of crime. A fear of crime would be realised because if criminals identified any areas within the taser training programme which may be perceived as vulnerable, they may target and exploit those areas and the public would be in fear of more criminal activity occurring. There would be an impact on police credibility to counter crime effectively. By withholding the information this will ensure that no tactical information is disclosed which may assist offenders

Balancing Test

Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of police training and the knowledge the police service is appropriately and effectively prepared to counter crime, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of police resources and training techniques engaged in taser training.

Northumbria Police Force will not divulge information if it is likely that it will compromise the work of the Police Service or place members of the public at risk. It is therefore our belief that the balance test lies in favour of not disclosing the information.

3. No information held. Northumbria Police do not have a code of practice.

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