Under 18s arrested (18016/18)

Request

I would like to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

1)         Please can you tell me how many under 18s were arrested by your officers in the calendar years:

  1. 2014
  2. 2015
  3. 2016
  4. 2017
  5. 2018 to date

2)         Please can you breakdown the figures in the answer to Q1a-e by the:

  1. Age
  2. Gender

iii.         Ethnicity

  1. Crime

3)         If possible within the cost limit could you please indicate the outcomes of the arrests in the answer for Q1a-e eg. Charged, NCA, bail etc

Response

Please find attached our response.

In regard to any information concerning Terrorism related arrest data, 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 24(2) National Security;

Section 30(3) Investigations;

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

Sections 24 is a prejudice based, qualified exemption and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or denying whether the information is held, as well as carrying out a public interest test.

Section 30 is a class based, qualified exemption and there is a requirement to conduct a public interest test.

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

Public Interest Test

Overall harm for the NCND

The threat from 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 current threat level to the UK is ‘severe’.

The security of the country is of paramount importance and West Midlands Police will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine national security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by a terrorist attack, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly sensitive areas of which they work.

Modern-day policing is intelligence led, and intelligence changes on a day-by-day basis.

Confirming or denying whether any information is held relevant to the request would show where policing interest has or has not occurred and provide information regarding arrests that have been made. This would provide those engaged in criminal activity with information to assist them in identifying the focus of policing targets. Any information identifying the focus of this activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations to plan an attack on the more vulnerable parts of the UK.

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.

Even though the request is only asking for statistical information, by confirming or denying whether any terrorists have been arrested and for what offences in each force area would allow criminals to identify where arrests for certain offences were less prevalent across the country as a whole. This would allow them to change tactics, destroy evidence or move their operations to another part of the country

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 of vital importance 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.

The force works in partnership with other agencies in order to combat issues such as terrorism and organised crime. Confirming or denying that information exists relevant to this request would seriously undermine this partnership approach.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24

Confirmation or denial that information exists relevant to the request would lead to a better informed public. The public are entitled to know the outcome of the use of public funds especially with regards to safeguarding national security.

Factors against confirmation or denial for S24

By confirming or denying that any further information exists relevant to the request would harm the close relationship that exists between us and other organisations. To confirm or deny whether the force holds any information relevant to the request would allow inferences to be made about the nature and extent of national security related activities which may or may not take place in a given area. This would enable terrorists or organized criminal groups to take steps to counter intelligence, and as such, confirmation or denial would be damaging to national security.

Confirming or denying any policing arrangements of this nature would render national security measures less effective. Consequently, this would compromise ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infrastructure of the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S30

There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that we are appropriately and effectively dealing with crime. This is particularly pertinent in high profile situations where there is a high degree of media speculation. Confirming or denying whether any other information is held would allow the public to make informed decisions about these matters.

Factors against confirmation or denial for S30

There is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and the outcomes of these by providing assurance that we are appropriately and effectively dealing with crime. However, this has to be balanced with a strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of police investigations and operations and in maintaining confidence in the Police Service. Confirmation or denial that any further information is held relevant to the request would undermine any investigative process and compromise the integrity of any operations.

Balance Test

The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. The security of the country is of paramount importance and we will not divulge whether information is or is not held if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk, compromise law enforcement or undermine National Security.

Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that the force is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat from terrorists, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in this highly sensitive area.

It is for these reasons that the public interest must favour neither confirming nor denying that any further information relevant to the request is held. However, this should not be taken as necessarily indicating that any information that would meet your request does or does not exist.

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

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.

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.

Attachments

18016_Attachment

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