Visor (3202_16)

Request

1. How many convicted sex offenders in the community (should not include incarcerated offenders) does your force area manage.

1a. How many are classified as Very High Risk, High Risk, Medium Risk and Low Risk.

1b. (If time permits) How many of the sex offenders that your force managers have convictions for offences relating to Indecent Images of Children?

2. How many officers and civilians do you employ who’s role is specifically to visit convicted sex offenders to manage their risk to the public.

3. How many supervisors (Sergeant and equivalent civilian rank) and employed to directly supervise officers employed to visit convicted sex offenders.

4.What computer triage tools (used to examine computers while visiting convicted sex offenders) do officers employed to manage convicted sex offenders use. (please list all used)

Response

Q1, 1a, 1b, 2 and 3) – Please see attached
Q4) I consider that the release of the information in relation to question 4 is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a)(b) – Law Enforcement.

This exemption and explanatory notes are shown here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#foia-section-31-law-enforcement

Please find following detailed reasoning on the application of this exemption.

Harm

Disclosing information regarding force systems, would provide a person or persons who may be intent on criminal activities, with invaluable information as to the capability and tactical position of the Force, thus allowing them to adjust their own tactics accordingly.

Considerations Favouring Disclosure

Police Forces need to be properly equipped in order to meet the demands placed upon them. This information could go some way towards reassuring the public that the West Midlands Police Force is adequately prepared in all areas.

There is a public interest in ensuring that forces are well equipped to manage sex offenders

Considerations Favouring Non-Disclosure

Disclosing the exact capabilities of West Midlands Police with regard to sex offender management, would allow individuals or groups intent on criminal activities, the opportunity to fully understand the police capability and therefore be more effective in carrying out those activities. It is the duty of the police to protect the public from all criminal attacks. There is evidence that criminals use information to change tactics and method of attack and therefore the safety of the public could be compromised.

Balancing Test

For a public interest test, issues that favour disclosure need to be measured against issues that favour non-disclosure. The public interest is not what interests the public, or a particular individual, but what will be the greater good, if released to the community as a whole.

We recognise that the public interest in being open and transparent is of great importance and release of the requested information may assist the public in being more aware of the work that the police are carrying out. However, while the public interest considerations favouring disclosure are noted, this must be balanced with the impact any release would have on the operational capability and tactical approach of the police.

Because the Freedom of Information Act is ‘applicant blind’, any information released under the Act is available to everyone. It is well documented that criminals will use every advantage they can gain to successfully carry out their criminality.

Therefore it is my view that the public safety from non-disclosure is of greater importance than the advantage of public confidence from the disclosure of this information.

At this time, it would not be in the public interest to release this information. West Midlands Police will not disclose information that could harm the public or that could compromise the safety and operational effectiveness of the Force.

Attachments

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