Stop and Search (7669/17)
Stop and Search data for 2013/14 and 2014/2015 for people aged under 18.
Please find attached our response.
In addition to the attached data, West Midlands Police Service can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any further information relevant to your request as the duty in s1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 24(2) National Security;
Section 31(3) Law enforcement;
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
Sections 24, and 31 are prejudice based qualified exemptions and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not that the information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test.
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT below.
No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have requested does or does not exist.
Overall harm for the NCND
The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored. It should be recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. The UK faces a sustained threat from violent terrorists and extremists. Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat level, based upon current intelligence and that threat has remained at the second highest level, ‘severe’, except for three short periods during August 2006, June and July 2007 and May 2017, when it was raised to the highest threat, ‘critical’, and in July 2009, when it was reduced to ‘substantial’. The current threat level to the UK is ‘severe’.
The security of the country is of paramount importance and West Midlands Police force will not divulge whether any further information is or is not held if to do so would place the safety of an individual 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 areas of which they work.
Modern-day policing is intelligence led, and intelligence changes on a day-by-day basis.
Confirming or denying whether any further information is held relevant to the request would show where policing interest has or has not occurred in any specific area which would enable those engaged in criminal activity to identify the focus of policing targets. Any information identifying the focus of this activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations to plan an attack on the more vulnerable parts of the UK.
Information that undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on both national security and law enforcement.
Public Interest Test
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24
Confirmation or denial that any further information exists relevant to the request would lead to a better informed public. The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent especially with regards to safeguarding national security
Factors against confirmation or denial for S24
By confirming or denying that any further information exists relevant to the request would harm the close relationship that exists between West Midlands Police force and other organisations. To confirm or deny whether the force hold any further information relevant to the request would allow inferences to be made about the nature and extent of national security related activities which may or may not take place in a given area. This would enable terrorists or organized criminal groups to take steps to counter intelligence, and as such, confirmation or denial would be damaging to national security.
By confirming or denying any policing arrangements of this nature would render national security measures less effective. This would lead to the compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security or infrastructure of the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public.
Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31
By confirming or denying whether any further information is held in respect to this request would allow the public to see where public funds are being spent. Better public awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the public as they would be more observant in reporting suspicious activity.
Factors against confirmation or denial for S31
By confirming or denying whether any further information is held in respect to this request, law enforcement tactics would be compromised which would hinder the prevention and detection of crime. This would result in more risk to the public and consequently require the use of more police resources.
The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. The security of the country is of paramount importance and West Midlands Police force will not divulge whether any further information is or is not held if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk, compromise law enforcement or undermine National Security.
Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that West Midlands Police force is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat from terrorists, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in this highly sensitive area.
It is for these reasons that the Public Interest must favour neither confirming nor denying that the requested information is held. However, this should not be taken as necessarily indicating that any information that would meet your request does or does not exist.