Commonwealth Games (950A/22)
Dear West Midlands Police, I note that the Commonwealth Games are finally due to commence in Birmingham on 28th July 2022 and there has been a massive effort over the past 2 years to ensure the security of the Games, including staff training and the use of new technology, and that additional officers from outside of the area are being requested to provide assistance. There will apparently be a heavy reliance on the use of drones and police dogs and the possible trial of live streaming body cam footage which will make the event a great technology experiment.
Q1. What is the official operation name for the Commonwealth Games (CG) operation?
Q2. What is the anticipated quantum of police personnel dedicated to the policing of the Games, in terms of their numbers and ranks (including police civilians, PCSO and cadets) derived from the West Midlands Police database, with the same data for each of the named outside supporting forces.
Q3. Please advise what is the amount of funding provided to cover the payroll of CG policing activities, from the Home Office or other named sources.
Q4. Please advise of the number of drones available to deploy at the CG, their model types and individual purchase costs. Please advise which of these drones are fully owned by WM police and if any are being paid for by rental or instalments, and which firms are responsible for drone supply and maintenance.
Q5. How many police dogs, and their types and names, are planned to be used at the CG?
Q6. Regarding the trial use of live streaming of body cam footage is this a Home Office approved experiment, how much funding has been provided for it, does WM Police own the equipment and hold a license agreement, and who has provided the technology?
Q5 – Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).
However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act*, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached file 950A_22_attachment.pdf). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.
* If responding to one part of a request would exceed the cost limit, public authorities do not have to provide a response to any other parts of the request https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/freedom-of-information-code-of-practice
Q2&3 – This information is exempt by virtue of Section 22(1) (Information intended for future publication). This exemption and explanatory notes is shown here:
Under section 22 of the Act, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already scheduled to be released into the public domain. The Operation Unity Freedom of Information Publication Strategy, which was implemented in December 2021, details how West Midlands Police intend to publish on dates which are at its discretion regarding information on selected costs, resources, and statistics in relation to the Commonwealth Games 2022.
The identified benefits of engaging this exemption are that dealing with requests for certain data whilst Operation Unity is ongoing can be complex and resource intensive. Also, random piecemeal disclosures may in fact damage the planning and/ or delivery process and affect the strategic aims of the operation. This can manifest itself in many ways, and there will also be an appetite from the media to gain exclusive knowledge and data, via FOI.
The application of this exemption, under Section 22 of the FOI Act also allows a sterile period, prior to publication by WMP in accordance with the intended publication listed at https://birmingham2022.west-midlands.police.uk/ Where all the stakeholders are able to consult, this will ensure that the final publication document meets the full needs of the public and the authorities involved. This coordinated approach to publication mitigates any harm that may be caused by random incomplete information entering the public domain.
REASON FOR DECISION
Information regarding the breeds and names of the dogs would not have been captured at the time. Therefore we would need to go back to try and establish this information and such an exercise would be hugely time consuming and exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).
This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: