We are requesting the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
We are concerned that police dogs are being deployed by West Midlands Police in an inappropriate manner against unauthorized Traveller camps and we wish to know how many times that has happened in 2016 and 2017 and what the result was of each individual deployment.
First – can you confirm or deny whether you have the information we are requesting.
The information we are requesting is as follows:
How many times have police dogs been deployed by West Midlands Police in incidents involving unauthorised Gypsy and/or Traveller camps (camps on land that the Gypsies and Travellers do not own) in 2016 and also 2017?
For each deployment, can you please tell us if they resulted in 1) arrests of anyone involved in the incident in which police dogs were deployed, 2) charges against anyone involved in the incident in which police dogs were deployed 3) prosecutions against anyone involved in the incident in which police dogs were deployed 4) successful convictions 5) any injuries caused by a police dog to a member of the public during the deployment.
Can you please supply the information in electronic form in an excel spreadsheet, giving the month and year for each individual deployment of police dogs against unauthorised Traveller camps during 2016 and 2017 and provide the information for each deployment on the spread sheet as to whether arrests were made, charges were brought, prosecutions initiated, any successful convictions and any injuries resulting from the individual deployment – as per the paragraph above.
Can you please also send us any current published West Midlands Police or national police protocols for your police officers that guide police officers in the deployment and use of police dogs.
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information. We are only able to search for incidents where dog units have attended, but we would be unable to say whether the dog was actually deployed.
In respects of persons that have been detained by West Midlands Police dogs, we do not record the ethnic group or whether the individuals are from the travelling community.
We would need to examine every dog bite report and check the logs to see if we could identify incidents involving members of the travelling community. It would take a considerable amount of time to retrieve every dog bite report for the time defined. Once the records were retrieved we would need to examine each submission to ascertain whether a member of the traveling community was involved and if this incident occurred on a traveller site.
Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)).
Therefore, the cost of compliance with 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 of the Freedom of information 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.
A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or section 14 applies must, within the time for complying with Section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a refusal notice.
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, please see the following link to the NPCC Police Dogs Manual of Guidance, as this should answer your final question regarding guidance followed:
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.