– West Midlands Police began an investigation into alleged irregularities in the sale of former Sandwell Council properties in October 2014. The force previously told me that investigation ran until February 2016. What was the month of start and month of end for the investigation and did it have a name eg “Operation Sentinel” ¿ if so, what was it please?
– Please list the properties¿ sales that were investigated eg former public toilets at The Shambles, Wednesbury, former HM Coroner’s office in Crocketts Lane, Smethwick
– Please state how many individuals gave formal statements ¿ how many as witnesses/how many as suspects
– Please state the dates and locations of any searches that took place as part of the investigation
– Can the police confirm if any of its officers interviewed [NAME REMOVED], [NAME REMOVED] or [NAME REMOVED] in connection with these allegations? Were they all interviewed as suspects or witnesses? On how many occasions were they interviewed and how long was each interview? How many of those occasions were on a voluntary basis? Were any other suspects interviewed? What were their names?
West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny that any information regarding any named individual is held by West Midlands Police by virtue of Section 40 (5).
We can confirm that some of the other requested information is held. However, while the majority of the information that does not concern named individuals is attached to this email I am afraid that I am not required by statute to release all of the information requested. Please find attached partial response to your request. This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) for the information that has not been released.
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 West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny the existence of any data concerning named individuals (questions 7, 8, 9 and 10) by virtue of the Section 40 (5) (Personal data).
Please find attached a partial response to the other questions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11). Some information is exempt by virtue of
Section 30 (1) (Investigations)
Section 40 (2) Personal Data)
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Fairness test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this attached along with the data that has been released.