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Date Responded 28 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:

1. Please state how many forms were submitted to the International Police Assistance Board (IPAB) or Joint International Policing Hub (JIPH) with respect to the Force’s activities between 1 January 2018 – 20 March 2020?

2. For each form please state:

  • The date of its submission;
  • The names of the contracting parties in the forms;
  • Description of the services to be provided;
  • Whether the proposed activities took place.

3. Please state how many requests for authorisation under Section 26 of the Police Act 1996 were made by the Force between 1 January 2018 – 20 March 2020.

4. For each of these requests please state:

  • The date of the request;
  • The country receiving overseas and assistance;
  • Description of the services to be provided;
  • Whether the proposed activities took place.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with various Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is not held by Northumbria Police.

Northumbria Police hold no information specific to your request.

Northumbria Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information with regard to an exempt body as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 23(5) Information Supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies

Section 24 National Security

Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case

Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on disclosure of any information applied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies.

Section 24 - Factors favouring confirmation that information is held:

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and resources are distributed within an area of policing.  To confirm whether any other information is held relating to this request would enable the general public to hold the force to account with regard to the financing and deployment of resources in this country and overseas, and providing the rationale behind such a deployment.  In the current financial climate of cuts and with the call for transparency of public spending this would enable improved public debate.

Section 24 - Factors favouring denial that information is held

Security measures are put in place to protect the community that we serve.  To confirm whether any other information relevant to this request is/is not held would highlight to terrorists and individuals intent on carrying out criminal activity vulnerabilities within the Police Service and which countries require UK policing support.

Taking into account the current security climate within the United Kingdom, no information which may aid a terrorist should be disclosed.  To what extent this information may aid a terrorist is unknown, but it is clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to monitor terrorist activity both nationally and internationally whilst also taking steps overseas to ensure the UK is safeguarded from terrorism.

Irrespective of what information is or isn’t held, the public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with regard to their safety and protection and the only way of reducing risk is to be cautious with what is placed into the public domain.

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various sources would be even more impactive when linked to other information gathered from various sources about terrorism.  The more information that is disclosed over time will provide a detailed account of the tactical infrastructure of not only a force area but also the country as a whole and globally.

Any incident that results from such a disclosure would by default affect National Security.

In addition, other organisations outside the police service are also widely involved in overseas deployments, and therefore by confirming whether or not other information exists relevant to the request would harm the close relationship that exists with such organisations, where trust and confidence in this specific area has been built up in the exchange of information and training.

To confirm whether Northumbria Police hold any other additional information would allow inferences to be made about the nature and extent of national security related activities abroad.  This could enable terrorist groups to take steps to avoid detection, and as such, confirmation or denial would be damaging to national security.  This would lead to the compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infra-structure both within the UK and Internationally.

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