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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

How we are working to keep our FOI Requests running during COVID-19

Remote Legal Advice (398A/21)

Request

  1. Please provide a copy of your force’s policy on obtaining informed consent to remote legal advice during the pandemic and assistance in custody, including the date this policy was introduced.
  2. Please provide copies of all materials that your force provides to suspects to inform their decision about whether to consent to remote legal advice during the pandemic and assistance in custody, including the date you started providing these materials.
  3. Please provide a copy of all training materials and guidance that is provided to officers on obtaining informed consent to remote legal advice and what to do if consent is refused, including the date this training and guidance was first introduced.
  4. How many police interviews did your force conduct in July 2020 with (i) children and (ii) vulnerable adults?
    a. In how many of those interviews was legal advice and assistance provided remotely?
    b. In how many of those interviews did you record whether the individual gave informed consent to receiving that advice and assistance remotely?
  5. Please supply the wording of any statement or question in your custody IT system associated with the recording of consent for remote legal advice.
  6. What were the total costs incurred by the force (including staff and premises if available) in operating video remand courts from March to December 2020? For how many weeks from March to December 2020 did your force operate video remand courts?
  7. What estimate has your force made of the total annual costs for the force should you be required to operate video remand courts in the future even if PECS is given permission to and does operate within police custody?

Response

Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. With regard to question 4, this is not a central recording category within our systems, therefore, to determine whether this has been recorded we would have to manually review each individual juvenile arrest record. Such a search, however, would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#fees-and-charges

However, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide information for the remainder of your request as this was retrieved during our initial research.

However, while the majority of the information is attached to this email, I am not required to release all of the information requested. Please see the attached documents and note the redactions are shown as white spaces.

REASONS FOR DECISION

The redacted information is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 31(1) – Law enforcement

Section 40(2) – Personal information

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#freedom-of-information-exemptions

In line with Section 31 above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached (398A_PIT).

Section 40(2) is an absolute and class based exemption if to release the information exists would breach the third party’s data protection rights. In this case to release this personal information would not constitute fair processing of the data. As this exemption is class based I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure and in this instance I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.

This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.

Attachments

398A_Attachment

Covid policy pg 12

Remote legal representation for interviews

398A_PIT