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Osman (threat to life) warnings issued to youths in your police force since 2008 (0600.2019-20)

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Request:

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act about Osman (threat to life) warnings issued to youths in your police force since 2008.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am only interested in offenders aged 10 to 17 inclusive at the time the Osman warnings were given.

I would like to know for every financial year since 2008:

  1. a) how many youths were given Osman warnings in total
  2. b) how old they all were (eg one 10-year-old, 15 17-year-olds etc)

 

Response:

Decision

I have decided not to give any information, pursuant to the following exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

Section 40(2) – Personal Information

Section 31(1) – Law Enforcement

Section 38(1) – Health and Safety

 

Explanation of exemptions

I am required by law under Section 17 to identify the relevant parts (the exemptions) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) that I have considered when reaching this decision, and I must also explain why these exemptions apply. Please see the exemption explanations below.

 

Section 40 – Personal Information

The specific information you have requested is exempt by virtue of Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) because I consider it to be personal information to the people concerned. Information disclosed under the Act is considered released to the world and responses are published on our website.

Section 40(2)(b) is an absolute class based exemption, which does not require a public interest test, but requires the balancing of the legitimate interests of the public against the interests of the individual under the first Data Protection Principle (that of ‘fairness’.) Where an individual can be identified by such data, releasing it would clearly breach the first data protection principle of being ‘fair’ to the data subject.

This exemption applies because the right given under the Act to request official information held by public authorities does not apply to the personal data of third parties where disclosure of that information would not be fair to the individual, and where there is no legitimate public interest in disclosure.

In all the circumstances of the case it has been determined that the duty to the individual under the Data Protection Act 1998, and the public interest in maintaining the exemption from disclosure of personal information held by the force in such instances, outweighs the public interest in disclosure. In this instance, personal information can only be disclosed to the individual concerned.

Releasing personal details to a person other than the data subject would not only breach the data subject’s Data Protection rights it may also breach the obligations placed on an authority under the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

Section 31(1)(a) – Law Enforcement

Section 31 is a qualified, prejudice-based exemption, which requires that I conduct a public interest test and evidence the harm in releasing such information.

 

Section 38(1) – Health and Safety

Section 38 is a qualified, prejudiced based exemption which requires the application of a harm and public interest test.

Information is exempt if its disclosure under the Act, or would, be likely, to:-

  1. a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
  2. b) endanger the safety of any individual

 

Overall Harm for Section 31 and Section 38

The issuance of Threat to Life notices is a serious matter. Publication of the breakdown of categories requested, by age or any other factors could increase the likelihood that individuals could be identified and located which will then undermine policing by creating not only a fear of crime but the occurrence of crime. Individuals would therefore be placed at risk by the disclosure of these figures.

 

Combined Public Interest Test for Section 31 and Section 38

Reasons for Disclosure

The public may be able to take steps to protect themselves.

Some information is already in the public domain.

Disclosure of the information would lead to a better informed public.

 

Reasons against Disclosure

Law enforcement tactics would be compromised.

More crime could be committed.

Disclosing the information may lead to threats, intimidation, serious violence, serious damage to property or in extreme cases death if a person is identified. This would lead to a lack of confidence in the Police Service.

Furthermore it would not be fair to process information which could lead to the identification of an individual therefore breaching the first principle of the Data Protection Act.

 

Balancing Test

After weighing up the competing interests I have determined that disclosing a further breakdown would not be in the public interest. I consider that the benefit that would result from the information being disclosed does not outweigh the benefit of disclosing the information.

Pursuant to Section 17(1) of the Freedom of Information Act (the Act) this letter acts as a Refusal Notice in response to part of your request.

Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.

 

Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.

Last modified: November 15, 2019