I am currently undertaking research regarding the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s) by the police, I hereby request under the Freedom of Information Act:
- Your aerial ISTAR (Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) capabilities; particularly the aircraft (rotary and fixed-wing) that you currently employ and the associated operational costs.
- Any data held relating to the effectiveness of aircraft as methods of crime control.
- Any data or information held referring to the use/ proposed use of UAS’s (commonly known as UAV’s) within the police.
Despite extensive searches, we have been unable to locate any relevant recorded information. We have never owned an unmanned aerial vehicle or deployed one directly.
From memory, one officer is aware that a blimp was used at the Warwickshire Cricket ground in 2007. The UAV in question was used by the cricket ground and we had access to the live images in their control room.
We also believe that we may have utilised a blimp for the Birmingham (Handsworth) Carnival about five years ago, possibly the 2009 Carnival. However we do not have any documentation to support this and the officer who would have been in charge at the time has since retired.
In addition to the above response West Midlands Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to your request with regard to an exempt body as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:
Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies
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 apply by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies.
As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.