CCTV Cameras (6466/19)

Request

  1. How many fixed CCTV cameras (i.e. permanently mounted in static locations) do you have and who is the supplier of these cameras? (Ex – traffic enforcement camera)
  2. How many mobile CCTV cameras (i.e. cameras that are moveable and can be deployed temporarily in different locations) do you have and who is the supplier of these cameras? (Ex – Body worn camera)
  3. Which Video Management System (e.g. Milestone, Gentech, Avigilon, Honeywell (MAXPRO) etc.) do you use to manage your cameras?
  4. Who is the supplier of your video surveillance system?
  5. For each component, please provide start/end dates and costs of the contracts with each supplier:
  6. Fixed cameras
  7. Mobile cameras
  8. Video Management System
  9. Long-term video storage
  10. Deployment and integration services (if any)
  11. Ongoing support, maintenance and system management (if any)

Response

We can confirm that some relevant information is held by West Midlands Police. Where no exemption applies the information has been provided (6466_Attachment).

Information with respect to question 3 is exempt by virtue of Sections 24(1) – National security and 31(1)(a)(b) – Law enforcement

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#freedom-of-information-exemptions

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this attached (6466_PIT).

In addition to the attached response West Midlands Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to this request 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(2) National security

Section 30(3) Investigations

Section 31(3) Law enforcement

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 30(3) is a class based qualified exemption and consideration of the public interest must be given as to whether neither confirming nor denying that information exists is the appropriate response.

With Sections 24(2) and 31(3) being prejudiced based qualified exemptions, there is a requirement for us to evidence harm in confirming or denying information is held and also consider the public interest.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that any further information relevant to your request does or does not exist.

Harm in Confirming or Denying Information is Held

Any release under FOIA is a disclosure to the world, not just to the individual making the request.  Whilst not questioning the motives of the applicant, confirming or denying that any other information is held would lead to an increase of harm to investigations and compromise law enforcement. This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service to all members of the public.

Police forces work in conjunction with other agencies and information is freely shared in line with information sharing protocols. Modern day policing is intelligence led and this is particularly pertinent with regard to law enforcement. The public expect police forces to use all powers and tactics available to them to prevent and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 24(2) National Security

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

The public is entitled to know how public funds are spent and resources distributed within an area of policing. To confirm whether information exists relating to a specific type of policing tactics would enable the general public to hold West Midlands Police to account where these tactics are utilised.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying that any information is held

As evidenced within the harm, to confirm detail of specific tactics that may or may not have taken place would highlight to terrorists and individuals intent on carrying out criminal behaviour. This would ultimately increase the risk of harm to the general public and significantly undermine any ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infrastructure of the United Kingdom.

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.

By confirming or denying any policing arrangements of this nature would render national security measures less effective. This would lead to the compromising of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infra-structure of the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public.

Section 30(3) Investigations

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

Confirming or denying whether information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed general public identifying that West Midlands Police robustly investigate offences which may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist with investigations and reduce crime. This would further promote public trust in providing transparency and demonstrating openness and accountability into where the police are currently focusing their investigations. The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent, particularly in the current economic climate.

The issue of surveillance and privacy is a highly emotive subject area often attracting high profile media. Confirming or denying that information exists could provide reassurance to the general public.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying that information is held

Modern-day policing is intelligence led and West Midlands Police shares information with other law enforcement agencies as part of their investigative processes. To confirm or not whether specific tactical options have or have not been used could hinder the prevention and detection of crime as well as undermine the partnership approach to investigations and law enforcement.

Should offenders take evasive action to avoid detection police resources may well be diverted from frontline duties and other areas of policing to locate and apprehend these individuals. In addition, the safety of individuals and victims would be compromised.

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

There is a vast amount of information within the public domain relating to this subject and that in itself is considered to be a factor for disclosure.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying that information is held

Confirming or denying whether information is or isn’t held in this case would suggest that West Midlands Police take their responsibility to protect covert investigative activity seriously and appropriately to ensure the effective delivery of operational law enforcement.

Balancing Test

The public interest is not what interests the public, or a particular individual, but what will be the greater good, if released, to the community as a whole. West Midlands Police is accountable for the spending of public money.

However, on balance it is considered that the public interest in confirming or denying whether any further information exists is outweighed by the potential impact release would have on our tactical capabilities and future law enforcement activities, and the potential to place members of the public at risk.

Public safety and effective law enforcement is of paramount importance to West Midlands Police and we will not confirm or deny any information if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine the prevention or detection of crime.

Therefore, having considered the arguments for and against, the public interest test favours maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny whether the information exists.

Attachments

6466_ATTACHMENT 6466_PIT

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