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FOI2018/07060

Karen Kennedy
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police Headquarters,
Woburn Road, Kempston,
Bedford, MK43 9AX
Telephone: 01234 842547
Email: foi@cambs.pnn.police.uk
9th January 2019


Our Ref: FOI2018/07060


REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 Ref No: FOI2018/07060


I write in connection with your request for information received on 6th December. I note you seek access to the following  information:


I am currently undertaking research into counter terrorism legislation, powers and subsequent effects this has on certain individuals in society.

Could I therefore request the following information under Freedom of Information for the year of 2016/2017
• Number of counter terror stop and searches
• Number of arrests under counter-terror powers
• Number of Schedule 7 interviews undertaken
• Number of schedule 7s leading to arrest.
• Number of persons charged under counter terror legislation
• Number of persons successfully prosecuted for counter terror offences

If held could the defined ethnic code be provided for each category please.

I am required by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) to handle all requests in a manner that is blind to the identity of the requestor. Any information released in response to a request is regarded as being published and therefore, in the public domain without caveat.

Following enquiries within the Constabulary please see our response below.
Response – Cambridgeshire Constabulary neither confirms nor denies that it holds information as the duty in Section 1(1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the ollowing exemptions

Section 23 (5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security bodies
Section 24 (2) National Security
Section 30(1) Investigations
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

The Section 23 exemption is a class absolute exemption. This means that the legislators have identified that there would be harm in disclosure and there is no need to evidence this or carry out a public interest test.

The Section 24 exemption is a prejudice based qualified exemption which requires the prejudice (harm) to be evidenced and a public interest test to be carried out. The Section 30 exemption is a class based qualified exemption. This means that the legislators when writing the legislation considered that the release of such information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 would cause harm to the public authority or individual concerned. There is therefore no requirement to carry out a HARM Test in respect of such information. However there is a requirement to carry out a Public Interest Test in order to establish whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption may be outweighed by a wider public benefit in disclosure.

The Section 31 exemption is a prejudice based qualified exemption which requires the prejudice (harm) to be evidenced and a public interest test to be carried out.

Overall Harm for Section 24 and Section 31

The threat of 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 level has remained at the second highest level ‘severe’, except for two short periods during August 2006 and June and July 2007, when it was raised to the highest threat ‘critical’ and July 2009, when it was reduced to ‘substantial’. The current threat level to the UK
is ‘severe’.

To confirm or deny that the requested information is held would undermine individual forces policing capabilities which consequently would be detrimental to their ability to deal with the on-going terrorist threat we face. By proving the number of reports of terrorism offences, where locations from which those reports came and a breakdown of the offences by an individual force would allow comparison between forces across the country and enable terrorists to build a picture of what resources are in place and where they are deployed. It is felt that confirmation or denial that this information is held would prejudice the effectiveness of the national counter terrorism effort and would allow inferences to be drawn about force level counter-terrorism activity and identify vulnerability around the country.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S24
The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and by confirming or denying that this information is held would allow the public to see where money is being spent and know that forces are doing as much as they can to combat terrorism.

Factors favouring neither confirming or denying for S24
To confirm or deny that this information is held would render security measures less effective which would compromise ongoing or future operations to protect the security and infrastructure of the UK. The risk of harm to the public would be elevated if areas of the UK which appear vulnerable were identified which would also provide the opportunity for terrorist planning. Ongoing or future operations to protect the security and infrastructure of the UK would be compromised as
terrorists could map the level of counter-terrorist activity across the country, providing them with the knowledge of individual force capability as well as valuable knowledge concerning the vulnerability of individual force areas.

Factors favouring confirmation or denial for S31
To confirm or deny that this information is held would make members of the public more aware of the threat of terrorism and allow them to take steps to protect themselves and families. Improved public awareness may lead to more intelligence being submitted to police about possible acts of terrorism as members of the public will be more observant to suspicious activity which in turn may result in a reduction of crime. The Home Office regularly publish national statistical data on terrorism.

Factors favouring neither confirming or denying of S31
To confirm or deny that the requested information is held could compromise law enforcement tactics which would hinder the Police force’s ability to prevent and detect terrorist crimes. The threat of terrorism will increase as more crimes are committed as a result of terrorists gaining knowledge about the capabilities of individual forces and therefore the public will be placed at a greater risk. A fear of crime will be realised as terrorists identify vulnerable areas and target and exploit these areas resulting in the public being in fear of more terrorist activity occurring. There would be an impact on
police resources from confirming or denying that reports to police have been made, what they may have entailed and the location of the call to police as vulnerable forces may need to increase their resources to reassure and protect the surrounding community.

Balance Test
The Home Office regularly publishes data in relation to terrorism arrests and charges. I have supplied the link to the information supplied by the Home Office below https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/counter-terrorism-statistics
To confirm or deny that the police have been notified of suspected terrorist activity at force level which would start to indicate levels of policing activity at force level which could allow individuals to exploit what may be considered as less active or resourced areas, by assessing patterns of police activity and deployments over time, ultimately to avoid detection.

The security of the country is of paramount importance. The police will not divulge any information that would place the safety of an individual at risk or undermine national security. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing, and in this case providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by terrorist activity, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police investigations and operations in the highly sensitive subject of terrorism.

As much as there is a public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will be overridden in exceptional circumstances. Police force’s capabilities of combating terrorism are sensitive issues of intelligence value to the terrorist and therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for confirming or denying that this information is held, not made out.

However, this should not be taken as necessarily indicating that any information that would meet your request exists or does not exist.

The numerical data presented in this response is an un-audited snapshot of un-published data sourced from "live" systems and is subject to the interpretation of the original request by the individual extracting the data.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter please do not hesitate to contact me quoting the above reference number.

Yours sincerely
Karen Kennedy
Information Rights


Cambridgeshire Constabulary provides you the right to request an independent review of this response under its review procedure. If you require such a review you must notify us within two months from the date of this letter. After lodging a complaint with Cambridgeshire Constabulary if you are still dissatisfied with the decision you may make an application to the Information
Commissioner. For information on how to make a complaint please visit their website at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ or contact them on 0303 123 1113.

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