Visit by Donald Trump (13946_18)

Request

a) The total estimated cost to your police force (as can be estimated so far) that related to policing the visit by US President Donald Trump to the UK on July 12-15

b) The total number of officers from your force that were involved in policing the visit by US President Donald Trump to the UK on July 12-15.

c) Please break down where possible how much of the costs in part (a) refer to:

– Opportunity costs

– Vehicles

– Infrastructure

– Catering, hotels

– Staff/officers’ overtime claimed so far

Response

Please find below our response.

 

Officers involved in the visit of Donald Trump is as follows.

 

10/07/18          10

11/07/18          56

12/07/18          738

13/07/18          738

14/07/18          629

 

 

With respect to costs, this information is still being processed by our accounts and so is currently not held.  It is likely to be available at the end of September, at which time you are free to resubmit your request.

 

In addition to the above 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

 

These exemptions and explanatory notes is shown here:

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) for Section 24. Please find this PIT below

 

Evidence of Harm:

 

Any release under FOIA is a disclosure to the world, not just to the individual making the request. To confirm or deny that any further information is held, along with any other information in the public domain would enable those who sought to threaten the safety of a visiting dignitary to calculate through disclosure of any further information the likely allocation of police resources and tactics being employed during a visit.

 

The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored. It is important to note that the UK does face 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. It is generally recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. The current UK threat level from international terrorism, based on intelligence, is assessed as of today’s date, as ‘Severe’ which means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, see below link:

 

https://www.mi5.gov.uk/threat-levels

 

Government reports suggest that at any one time the police and security agencies are contending with many terrorist plots, terrorist groups or networks and individuals who are judged to pose a threat to the well-being of the UK and or UK interests. While the plots may not necessarily all be directed at attacks on visiting dignitaries or high profile individuals, any attack on the US President or any other overseas Head of State would be of national significance to our country. Confirmation or denial of any further information being held is likely to place individuals at serious risk due to their prominence across the globe.

 

With this in mind, confirming or denying whether further information is held regarding the policing effort for Mr Trump’s visit, could compromise the current or future law enforcement role of all UK forces. Confirming or denying could provide criminals with an insight as to how the police operate, and provide opportunities to disrupt police activity, with a corresponding detrimental effect of providing an efficient policing service. In addition, it would decrease police forces’ ability to provide a duty of care to all members of the public, and may necessitate an increase in numbers of officers available, with the resultant increase in cost to the public purse.

 

Public safety is of paramount importance to the policing purpose and must be taken into account in deciding whether to confirm or deny that any further information exists.

 

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24

The public are entitled to know whether any further information is held in relation to the spending of public funds and police resourcing, particularly in relation to high profile state visits. To confirm whether or not any further information exists would enable the general public to hold the police service to account in relation to how they plan, allocate resources and provide effective policing.

 

Furthermore, confirmation or denial may improve public debate and allow for better understanding on how the police perform their duties.

 

Factors against confirmation or denial for S24

Taking into account the current security climate within the United Kingdom, no information which may aid a terrorist should be disclosed. To what extent confirming or denying further information is held may aid a terrorist is unknown, but it is clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to plan and police future State Visits.

 

The public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with regard to their safety and protection. The only way of reducing risk is to be cautious with what is placed into the public domain and confirmation or denial in this case may undermine policing measures designed to protect national security.

 

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various sources would build a picture of vulnerabilities within certain scenarios. To confirm or deny that any further information is held in relation to state visits and then disclose would allow those who intend to cause harm to calculate areas of more or less risk during state visit occasions.

 

Any information identifying the focus of policing activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists, extremist or criminal organisations. Information that undermines the operational integrity of these operational activities (whether information is or is not held in this instance) will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact and compromise the ability of the police to safeguard national security. Confirmation or denial that further information is held in this case is therefore an inappropriate option.

 

Balancing Test

 

The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police Service will never divulge whether or not any further information is held if to do so would place the safety of individual(s) at risk or undermine National Security.

 

Whilst there is a public interest in appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat from criminals, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding National Security. As much as there is a public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of National Security, this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances.

 

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 any information that is released. Confirming or denying whether any further information is or is not held in relation to police resourcing during state visits would definitely reveal policing activity and would assist those intent on causing harm. Any incident that results from confirmation or denial would, by default, affect National Security. The balance test therefore lies in neither confirming nor denying that any additional information is held.

 

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