1. How many arrests were made, with the arresting officer citing Anti-Terrorism Legislation/Laws/Acts, as the reason for the arrest?
2. What were the outcomes of these arrests and what percentage of those arrested were found to be innocent?
3. How many “stop and search” actions were conducted by officers, who again cited Anti-Terrorism Legislation/Laws/Acts, such as Section 44 of the Terrorism Act and how many of those who were stopped were detained for an elongated period of time?
4. What percentage of Blacks, Whites and Asians were detained and stopped under Anti-Terror legislation and how much has this figure increased from the year 2000?
5. Are officers given a “criteria” of any sort, as to who they should stop, search, detain or arrest in response to Government reforms in Anti-Terrorism Legislation?
6. How many complaints were filed by those who were either detained, searched or arrested, in response to the treatment they received and what was the conclusion of those complaints?
West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny that we hold any of the requested information. This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).
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 relevant data by virtue of
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
Section 24(2) National Security
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure.
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 and that threat level has remained at the second highest level ‘severe’, except for several short periods in different years.
To confirm or deny that the requested information is held would undermine the policing capabilities of individual forces, which consequently, would be detrimental to their ability to deal with the on-going terrorist threat we face. By confirming or denying that information is held by an individual force would allow comparison between forces across the country and it would enable terrorists to build a picture of what resources are in place and where they are deployed. Consequently, this would prejudice the effectiveness of the national counter terrorism effort as it would allow inferences to be drawn about force level counter-terrorism activity and identify vulnerability around the country.
Public Interest Test
S24 Factors favouring confirmation or denial
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.
S24 Factors against confirming or denying
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 and this 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.
S31 Factors favouring confirmation or denial
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.
S31 Factors against confirming or denying
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. There would be an impact on police resources from confirming or denying that the information is held, as vulnerable forces may need to increase their resources to reassure and protect the surrounding community.
The Home Office regularly publishes data in relation to the operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000.
The link to these publications is below:
To confirm or deny that the information requested is held would start to indicate levels of policing activity in particular areas of the country, 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 be overridden in exceptional circumstances. A police force’s capabilities of combatting terrorism is a sensitive issue with intelligence value to terrorists 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.
No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have requested does or does not exist.