10 – 17 Year Old Arrests (7395_16)

Request

I am requesting the number of Arrests of Children Aged 10 – 17 Between 1st January 2011 and 30th April 2016 for Offences, ordered by what the offence is.

Example list:
Absconding from lawful custody
Abstracting electricity
Arson
Assaulting constable
Attempting to pervert the course of public justice
Bail offences
Begging
Being carried knowing vehicle is taken without consent
Blackmail
Breach of ASBO
Burglary in a dwelling
Burglary, other than in a dwelling
Common assaults etc
Criminal Damage
Criminal Evidence Offences
Cruelty to animals
Disorderly behaviour or language
Dogs, offences in relation to
Drunkenness, aggravated
Drunkenness, simple
Education Acts, offences against
Firearms Acts offences
Found in enclosed premises, possessing picklocks
Fraud by false representation
Game laws
Going Equipped
Handling stolen goods
Harassment
Highways: Nuisances (non-vehicle)
Highways: Obstructions (non-vehicle)
Immigration Acts
Interference with motor vehicles
Licensing offences
Making off without payment
Making or supplying articles for use in frauds
Miscellaneous sexual offences
Misuse of drugs – other
Misuse of drugs – possession
Misuse of drugs – trafficking
Modern Slavery
Money laundering offences (not drugs)
Motoring: Accident Offences
Motoring: Careless Driving
Motoring: Dangerous Driving
Motoring: Drink/Drugs
Motoring: Insurance Offences
Motoring: Licence Offences
Motoring: Neglect of traffic directions
Motoring: Obstruction, waiting, parking
Motoring: Other
Obtaining services dishonestly
Offences against Immigration Acts
Offences against public order
Offences connected with pedal cycles
Offences involving impersonation, making false or misleading statements or failing to give information etc.
Offender Management Act
Other Forgery etc.
Other Frauds
Other indictable offences
Other liquor law offences
Other offences against the State and Public Order
Other Offences: Local Regulations
Other stealing and unauthorised taking
Other Summary Offences
Pedlars Acts Offences
Possession of articles for use in frauds
Possession of false documents
Public fear, alarm or distress
Public Health
Railways Offences
Resisting or obstructing constable
Sexual assault on a female
Sexual assault on a male
Stealing from motor vehicles
Stealing from non motor vehicles
Theft by employee
Theft from automatic machine or meter
Theft from person
Theft from shop
Theft in dwelling
Theft of cycle
Theft of vehicles
Threat and possession with intent to commit criminal damage
Unauthorised Taking of a Vehicle
Violent Disorder

Response

We can confirm that some relevant information is held by West Midlands Police, please see attached document – 7395_attachment_01. However, we are withholding some information since we consider that the exemptions outlined below apply to it.
Please note that a person can be arrested for more than one offence and the attached shows the number of offences rather than the total of people arrested.

REASONS FOR DECISION

The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.

In this case the information is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions:

S23(5) Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters

S24(2) National Security

S30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by the public authority

S31(3) Law Enforcement

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/docs/advice-centre/foi/exemptions.pdf

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached.

Evidence of Harm

Overall Harm for Section 24 and Section 31
The threat of terrorism cannot be ignored. It should be recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. The UK faces a sustained threat from violent terrorists and extremists. Since 2006 the UK Government have published the threat level based upon current intelligence. The actual threat level to the UK from international terrorism (as of the date of compiling this advice) is “severe” (see below link) – this means that a terrorist attack is highly likely. Policing operations and contingency planning remain under constant review and a wide range of overt and covert tactics will continue to be used across the UK.
https://www.mi5.gov.uk/home/the-threats/terrorism/threat-levels.html

To confirm or deny whether any other information is held would undermine individual force policing capabilities which consequently would be detrimental to their ability to deal with the ongoing terrorist threat we face. By providing the number of arrests of children aged 10-17 for terrorism offences (as the individual offence the arrest was made for) would allow comparison between forces across the country and enable terrorists to build a picture of what resources are in place and where they are deployed. It is felt that confirmation or denial that this information is held would prejudice the effectiveness of the national counter terrorism effort and would allow inferences to be drawn about force level counter-terrorism activity and identify vulnerability around the country.

Public Interest Test
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24
The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and by confirming or denying that this information is held would allow the public to see where money is being spent and know that forces are doing as much as they can to combat terrorism.
Factors favouring neither confirming or denying for S24
To confirm or deny that this information is held would render security measures less effective which would compromise ongoing or future operations to protect the security and infrastructure of the UK. The risk of harm to the public would be elevated if areas of the UK which appear vulnerable were identified which would also provide the opportunity for terrorist planning. Ongoing or future operations to protect the security and infrastructure of the UK would be compromised as terrorists could map the level of counter-terrorist activity across the country, providing them with the knowledge of individual force capability as well as valuable knowledge concerning the vulnerability of individual force areas.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31
To confirm or deny that this information is held would make members of the public more aware of the threat of terrorism and allow them to take steps to protect themselves and families. Improved public awareness may lead to more intelligence being submitted to police about possible acts of terrorism as members of the public will be more observant to suspicious activity which in turn may result in a reduction of crime. The Home Office regularly publish national statistical data on terrorism.
Factors favouring neither confirming or denying of S31
To confirm or deny that the requested information is held could compromise law enforcement tactics which would hinder the Police force’s ability to prevent and detect terrorist crimes. The threat of terrorism will increase as more crimes are committed as a result of terrorists gaining knowledge about the capabilities of individual forces and therefore the public will be placed at a greater risk. A fear of crime will be realised as terrorists identify vulnerable areas and target and exploit these areas resulting in the public being in fear of more terrorist activity occurring.
Balance Test
The Home Office regularly publishes data in relation to terrorism arrests and charges.
I have supplied the link to the information supplied by the Home Office below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/counter-terrorism-statistics

To confirm or deny that the police have arrested children aged between 10-17 for terrorist offences would start to indicate levels of policing activity at force level which could allow individuals to exploit what may be considered as less active or resourced areas, by assessing patterns of police activity and deployments over time, ultimately to avoid detection.
The security of the country is of paramount importance. The police will not divulge any information that would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine national security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing, and in this case providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by terrorist activity, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly sensitive subject of terrorism.
As much as there is a public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. Police force’s capabilities of combating terrorism are sensitive issues of intelligence value to the terrorist and therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for confirming or denying that this information is held, is not made out.
However, this should not be taken as necessarily indicating that any other information that would meet your request exists or does not exist.

Attachments

7395_ATTACHMENT_01

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