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External Training - 288/20

Date Responded 03 March 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. Do you have a Managed Service Provider (MSP) contract in place for your external training needs?
  2. If so, what is the start date and duration of the contract?
  3. Is there an extension clause in the framework(s)/contract(s) and, if so, the duration of the extension?
  4. Has a decision been made yet on whether the framework(s)/contract(s) are being either extended or renewed?
  5. Who is the senior officer (outside of procurement) responsible for this contract?
  6. What is your training budget for the financial year 2020-2021?
  7. How much of this budget will be allocated to the following training areas: Safeguarding, Investigations, Disclosure, Counter-Terrorism?
  8. What are the results of your training needs analysis for the upcoming financial year, 2020-2021?

In Response:

As advised in our acknowledgement email your requests have been aggregated with regards to time constraints under the Act, as they refer to the same subject area – External Training.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Procurement, Finance and Training Departments.  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.

1-5. No information held.  We do not have a MSP arrangement for external training.  Training is procured on an individual basis as and when a requirement is identified.

6.  No information held. This level of detail for 2020/2021 will not be available until late March 2020.

7-8. We will not be providing the information requested at these points and will be relying on the following exemptions:

Section 24(1) National Security

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

Harm

To disclose the training budget for Safeguarding, Investigations, Disclosure and Counter-Terrorism on a National level and reveal the training needs analysis for the forthcoming year, would reveal to terrorists and criminals where Policing vulnerabilities lie.

Factors favouring disclosure - Section 24

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and by disclosing this information the public would be able to see where public money is being spent and know that forces are doing as much as they can to combat terrorism and organised crime.  Revealing this information would enable the public to have some reassurance that Police are well trained and prepared in counter terrorism and crime prevention/detection.  This is an issue high on the public agenda and therefore the release of this information would contribute to an informed public debate.

Factors against disclosure - Section 24

Revealing detailed training needs and budgetary shortfalls may identify National ‘soft spots’ that terrorists and criminal organisations can exploit in order to pursue their activities.

This could threaten the successful delivery of the government's counter terrorism strategy and lead to the public being at increased risk from terrorism.  There is also potential for such data to be used to increase community tensions by pointing out policing vulnerabilities in certain locations, which would not be in the public interest.

Any information shared nationally has the potential to cover all aspects of criminal activity, be it threats to National Security, future planned robberies or intelligence relating to terrorist activity.  Disclosure of the information would enable those intent on engaging in terrorist activities to determine which areas within the UK are easier to target.

Factors favouring disclosure - Section 31

The public are entitled to know how public resources are used and by disclosing this information the public would be able to see where police are focusing and know that forces are doing as much as they can to combat crime and terrorism.  Releasing this information would reveal to the public that there are effective funds and measures in place to ensure that the police are well trained and prepared to counter terrorism and 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 terrorists identified more vulnerable areas, they would target and exploit those areas and the public would be in fear of more criminal/terrorist activity occurring.  There would be an impact on police credibility to counter crime effectively.  If the resources and training to deter terrorist activities is disclosed and some areas are deemed to be 'softer' at managing this threat, terrorist cells may move to these areas in order to continue their operations and avoid detection.

Balancing Test

The security of the nation and of the public are of paramount importance and the Police service will not divulge information if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine National Security.  Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing resources/training and that the police service is appropriately and effectively prepared to counter terrorism and crime, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both National Security and the integrity of police resources engaged in these highly sensitive areas.

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.

 

You may find the information available via the following link of interest:

https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about-us/publications-and-documents/finance/procurement/

 

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