Officer BME (3005_16)
I would like you to use where appropriate as at 09/03/2016
How many BME officers in each of the following ranks do you have within your force
Detective Chief Inspector
Detective Chief Superintendent
How many of the below officers do you have in your force in each of the following roles
How many of the above number of officers in each of the roles below are BME
Family Liaison Officers
Underwater Search Unit
Serious crime departments ( By this I mean the department that will investigate serious offending eg murder)
We can confirm that some relevant information is held by West Midlands Police. However, while the majority of the information is attached. I am afraid that I am not required by statute to release all of the information requested. Please find attached a redacted document. This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) for the parts of the document that have not been released. You may also find the following website useful
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.
In this case, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for the redacted parts of the attached document. The information is exempt by virtue of the following exemption
Section 31 (1) (a) (Law enforcement)
This exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure.
Public Interest Test
Section 31 (1) (a) (Law enforcement)
West Midlands Police are responsible for enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and serving our communities and protecting them from harm.
To release details concerning the number of West Midlands Police firearms and counter terrorism officers currently in our force could potentially provide criminal elements with information that could be used to divert resources from a time critical incident requiring the deployment of armed resources. The current security threat to the UK from international terrorism is severe and as such the deployment of armed resources to respond to such a risk should not be compromised by the disclosure of key information. This would compromise the force capability and place members of the public at risk of harm. West Midlands Police has a duty to prevent crime, apprehend and prosecute offenders and carry out the administration of justice. By disclosing the requested information, it would impact on the operations and tactical capabilities of West Midlands Police.
Factors Favouring Disclosure
West Midlands Police are accountable to the public for providing efficient resources, training and for budgeting for specialist units and departments, in order that the public can be assured that the force is fulfilling its responsibility to protect and serve our communities. It is in the public interest to know that West Midlands Police have sufficient resources in place.
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure
Disclosing the information requested, would disclose our force’s capabilities, which would compromise the law enforcement function of West Midlands Police and place members of the public at risk. The disclosure of this information may lead to deliberate and malicious attacks to divert police resources in areas where ARV numbers are low, or may expose a weakness which could be taken advantage of by the criminal fraternity. By revealing any tactical or operational information would prejudice law enforcement which would endanger the safety of both members of the public and officers concerned.
Release of this information would provide the criminal fraternity with valuable information that would assist them with their activities, allowing them the opportunity to alter their behaviour to avoid detection.
When balancing the public interest, arguments need to be weighed against each other. The most persuasive reason for disclosure which is accountability needs to be weighed against the most persuasive reason for non-disclosure, which in this case is that law enforcement capabilities could be compromised, therefore placing members of the public at risk.
West Midlands Police needs to be accountable for the spending of public money; however we must protect any information that would have a negative impact on any operation, or reveal our tactical capabilities. Public safety and effective law enforcement is of paramount importance to West Midlands Police and we will not divulge any information if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine the prevention or detection of crime, thereby assisting those persons intent on committing crime.
Therefore in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.