I am attempting to challenge Avon and Somerset Police’s refusal to answer a freedom of information request. I’ll post updates here.
Here’s my letter:
I am writing to you to request an appeal into your response to my recent freedom of information request.
I asked the following question,
ACPO recently stated UK police forces have used hacking techniques (aka “remote searching”) to access information held on personal computers. ACPO states these powers have been used 200 times since they were granted. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5439604.ece. How many times – if any – have Avon and Somerset used such powers?
I consider the response from the force inadequate as in essence it was a refusal to disclose information on operational grounds.
Given that ACPO itself sees fit to disclose the information, for Avon and Somerset to refuse seems illogical and even perverse. If the body representing chief police officers does not believe that disclosing this information can be to the detriment of its operations, then it is unreasonable for Avon and Somerset to claim the same.
Avon and Somerset even states in its response that to disclose the information might be in breach of the law. If this is the case then one can only presume a warrant could be issued against ACPO. Of course, it can’t; but I think it shows the absurdity of Avon and Somerset’s response.
My request was clear enough. But, to clarify further, I am not asking for operational details, simply whether or not these techniques have ever been used by Avon and Somerset, and if so how many times.
There could be no imaginable detriment to the force’s operations by releasing this information. In fact, the force is usually happy to publicise its crime-fighting techniques on the grounds that publicity acts as a deterrent to potential criminals.
I include the original request and a copy of the response I received.
I hope you will be able to conduct this review within the recommended 20 day period. If you have any queries, please contact me.