Queens funeral costs (208A 23)
1) what was the estimated cost to the force of the Queen’s funeral, if any
2) what types of activity relating to the funeral resulted in a cost to the force, and how much did each activity cost – please present this as a breakdown to question 1, e.g. staffing costs, accommodation, catering, transport etc
I would like data concerning all activities associated with the funeral proceedings – for instance, the Queen lying in state, transporting the Queen’s coffin, the actual funeral procession etc.
If including staffing costs, please give me a breakdown of what would be a cost that the force would normally expect to have had (for instance police officers already scheduled to work who were deployed to activities related to the funeral, i.e. opportunity costs) versus additional costs e.g. from deploying more officers than would be usual.
You then sent a further email clarifying the above:
I am just getting in touch with a clarification regarding an FOI I put in last week on the royal funeral, following a question I have received from one force to which I put the same request.
I am primarily interested in the cost burden to your specific force – what you may describe as non-recoverable spend. However, if you have expenditure that was recovered, I would ask for you to provide two figures for each question/cost breakdown – a total expenditure and a total non-recoverable expenditure.
I would for instance want to differentiate between expenditure that was recovered from another public body e.g. if London Metropolitan Police covered the cost of any assistance provided to Avon and Somerset. An FOI has also been sent to London Metropolitan about their costs.
We can confirm that some relevant information is held by West Midlands Police. However, we are withholding some of that information since it is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions
Section 31 (1) Law enforcement
Section 24 (1) National Security
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
Question 1 – This is the cost of the Queens funeral in general – based on a cost code. This is over the ten-day period, and not in relation to specific events.
Total costs on this sub account are £1,542,000 (rounded to the nearest £1000).
Section 31 (1) Law enforcement
Section 24 (1) National Security
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT enclosed.
Any release under FOIA is a disclosure to the world, not just to the individual making the request, once the information is published the force has no control over what use is made of that information.
Releasing the detailed costs of specific activities, would initially not seem to be harmful, but determined individuals can use this information with other information in the public domain to identify how this cost was used (the mosaic effect). This could be staff levels or security measures for the activity could be ascertained.
ICO guidance states ‘safeguarding national security also includes protecting potential targets even if there is no evidence that an attack is imminent…the Commissioner also recognises terrorist can be highly motivated and may go to great lengths to gather intelligence. This means there may be grounds for withholding what seems harmless information on the basis that it may assist terrorists when pieced together with other information they may obtain.’
S24 Factors favouring disclosure
The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and to disclose the requested information would allow the public to see where money is being spent and know that forces are doing as much as possible to combat terrorism.
S24 Factors against disclosure
Personal protection is provided to a number of people where it is in the national interest or where intelligence (information) suggests protection is necessary. Specific protection arrangements are applied in order to safeguard national security by ensuring that appropriate safety and security is provided to key figures such as the King and the Prime Minister. The disclosure of information that undermines security operations would ultimately increase the risk of harm to those afforded personal protection and to the general public within that vicinity. By providing costs of different specific events, this allows individuals to possible identify with other information in the public domain the numbers of officers assigned to the event, it also shows the possible importance of the protection provided for this part of the activity due to the amount of money that was spent.
S31 Factors favouring disclosure
Providing information in relation to events and the protection of individuals would allow the public to see where public funds are being spent. Better public awareness may assist to reduce crime or lead to more information from the public.
S31 Factors against disclosure
Providing information that could be used to identify resources used at events could be harmful to the security of individuals that would lead to law enforcement tactics being compromised which would ultimately hinder the prevention and detection of crime. Security arrangements and tactics are re-used and have been monitored by criminal groups, fixated individuals and terrorists. Protection is provided in a number of forms after careful evaluation of the threat and risks posed to those individuals by operational experts in this field of policing. It therefore follows that anything that would negate the benefits of that protection would place individuals at risk. This would be the individuals receiving protection, the police officers providing the protection and any member of the public in the vicinity of the individual.
Overall Balance Test
The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police service will not divulge information if it is considered harmful, if to do so would place the safety of any individual in receipt of protection at risk or undermine National Security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by a terrorist attack, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly sensitive area of terrorism prevention.
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