- How many specialist fraud and cyber-crime investigators does the force have?
- Has the number investigators increased or decreased over the past two years?
- If so, how has the number changed in each of the past two years?
Please find attached our response.
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.
As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.
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 exemption:
Section 23(5) Information relating to the 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.
This exemption and explanatory notes is shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure
Overall harm for NCND
In order to counter criminal and terrorist behaviour it is vital that the police and other agencies have the ability to work together, where necessary covertly, in order to obtain intelligence within current legislative frameworks to ensure the successful arrest and prosecution of those who commit or plan to commit acts of terrorism. In order to achieve this goal, it is vitally important that information sharing takes place with other police forces and security bodies within the UK and Internationally in order to support counter-terrorism measures in the fight to deprive international terrorist networks of their ability to commit crime. It should be recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. The UK faces a serious and sustained threat from violent extremists and this threat is greater in scale and ambition than any of the terrorist threats in the past. Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat level, based upon current intelligence and that threat has remained at the second highest level, ‘severe’, except for two short periods during August 2006 and June and July 2007, when it was raised to the highest threat ‘critical’. The Police Service is committed to demonstrating proportionality and accountability regarding surveillance techniques to the appropriate authorities.
The prevention and detection of crime is the foundation upon which policing is built and the police have a clear responsibility to prevent crime and arrest those responsible for committing crime or those that plan to commit crime. To do this the police require evidence and that evidence can come from a number of sources, some of which is obtained through covert means. Having obtained sufficient evidence offenders are charged with offences and placed before the courts.
By confirming or denying that any other information pertinent to this request exists could directly influence the stages of that process, and jeopardise current investigations or prejudice law enforcement. Any information identifying the focus of policing activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations. Information that undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on both national security and law enforcement.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24 –The public is entitled to know how public funds are spent and by confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists could lead to a better-informed public that can take steps to protect themselves
Factors against confirmation or denial for S24 – By confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists would render security measures less effective. This could lead to the compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infra-structure of the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31 – By confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists, would enable the public to see where public funds are being spent. Better public awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the public. The quality of public debate may also be enhanced.
Factors against confirmation or denial for S31 – By confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists, law enforcement tactics could be compromised which could hinder the prevention and detection of crime. More crime could be committed and individuals placed at risk.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S30 – By confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists would enable the public to obtain satisfaction that all investigations are conducted properly and that their public money is well spent.
Factors against confirmation or denial for S30 – By confirming or denying that information relevant to the request exists, would hinder the prevention or detection of crime, undermine the partnership approach to law enforcement , which would subsequently affect the force’s future law enforcement capabilities.
Balance test – The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police Service will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so could undermine national security or compromise law enforcement. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and in this case providing assurance that the Police Service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by the criminal fraternity, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in this area. As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. Therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for confirming or denying whether any other information relevant to your request exists is not made out. There is also no requirement to satisfy any public concern over the legality of police operations and the tactics we may or may not use. The force is already held to account by independent bodies such as The Office of the Surveillance Commissioner and The Interception of Communications Commissioners Office. These inspections assess each constabulary’s compliance with the legislation and a full report is submitted to the Prime Minister and Scottish Ministers containing statistical information. Our accountability is therefore not enhanced by confirming or denying that any other information is held.
None of the above can be viewed as an inference that any other information does or does not exist.
For further information and data on West Midlands Police see our publication scheme and disclosure log
RIGHT OF APPEAL
Your attention is drawn to your right to request a re-examination of your case under West Midlands Police review procedure, which can be found at:
Please note that such an appeal must be received within 40 working days of the date of this correspondence. Any such request received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the FOI Unit.