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Main Forum >> Freedom Of Information Responses & Requests >> Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police FOIs
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Message started by mc661 on Nov 9th, 2005 at 11:10am

Title: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police FOIs
Post by mc661 on Nov 9th, 2005 at 11:10am
I was talking to a friend who works as an FOI officer at a local police force, they wish to remain annon for fear of being sacked.

I have just recived this E-mail from his private mail account.

It brings up interesting questions that the Police Forces are obviously knowing they are doing wrong and are censoring any responses.
I doubt that if an MP sent in exactly the same response as we are, that theyd get the cut n past response which is being sent out at the moment.

----

Hi ...

Was nice talking to you on the phone yesterday.
Yes we are aware of a website called saynoto0870.com which, according to the power's that be, is sending excessive amounts of 0870/0845 FOIA requests.

The IC office is also aware of them as well and has sent an Email to all the police FOI departments with several instructions. I have tried to track down this exact E-mail but I have failed.

I however have attached the standard draft response which was also sent out by the IC office which we are to send to any further requests regarding 0870/0845 or any telephony matter.

Personally I feel that this is unreasonable as I explained to you on the phone, but at the end of the day I am only following orders. It is not hard for us just to re-send the response we sent to another similar request.

Please keep my name and where I work private as I am sure I would be sacked for telling you what I have told you.

Regards.

XXXXXXX

Title: Re: Standard Response for all 0870 FOI's
Post by mc661 on Nov 9th, 2005 at 11:10am



The Attachment
I write in connection with your request for information, received by this office on [DATE].  I understand you are requesting information concerning:

[SUBJECT RELATING TO 0870/0845]

Requests to public authorities on this subject have been many and numerous since the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Much public debate has already been generated over the introduction of these numbers.

Various campaign groups have formed and on numerous occasions have posed the same or similar questions. The responses have been posted on a range of websites and this has led to articles and copies of the information appearing in the national media.  The information has been placed in the public domain.

In addition to the tactic of repeatedly asking the same question, the responses have often been debated in chat rooms, on websites and in other types of publications.  During these discussions, derogatory personal comments have been made about members of the police service.  Other generic insults have also been published. In some cases, these actions have been supplemented by rude and aggressive personal contact via telephone.

The result has been personal stress and anguish caused to members of staff and this has undermined the efficiency and effectiveness of the forces concerned.  More importantly, these actions have caused harm to the individuals involved.  It is the view of the police service that any form of attack on it staff will not be tolerated, simply because they are performing a public function.

It should be noted that [NAME OF POLICE FORCE] considers that this subject is now classified as vexatious under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

Any requests on the subject will be refused using the Section 14 exemption. This exemption applies where the day-to-day functions of a public body, in particular its ability to manage the work that arises from its obligation to comply with the FOIA, are undermined by a number of apparently obsessive requests and the pursuit of continuing associated correspondence.

The whole philosophy behind the introduction of the FOIA is to achieve an effective balance between the individualís right to know and an authorityís need to deliver its functions effectively.  This balance is challenging to maintain.  Whilst the police service wishes to optimise avenues of communication, the Information Commissionerís view is that, where appropriate, we are entitled to produce an overall strategy, define suitable parameters and implement an approach to control situations such as this.

This position is further supported by the guidance issued by the Information Commissioner, ICOís guidance no 22.  A synopsis of this guidance follows:

The Commissioner is confident that most members of the public will exercise their new rights sensibly and responsibly. However, it is recognised that some individuals - and perhaps some organisations - may seek to abuse these new rights. Even though it may not have been the explicit intention of the applicant to cause inconvenience, it will be appropriate to treat the request as being vexatious.  While giving maximum support to individuals genuinely seeking to exercise the new right to know, the Commissionerís general approach will be sympathetic towards authorities where a request, which may be the latest in a series of requests, would impose a significant burden and:


∑       Clearly does not have any serious purpose or value
∑       Is designed to cause disruption or annoyance
∑       Has the effect of harassing the public authority
∑       Can otherwise fairly be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable

I regret that I am unable to meet your request but should you have any further information needs in the future then please contact me.  

You have the right to ask us to review this decision.  If you wish us to review this decision please set out your grounds for review in writing and send them to the [YOUR INFORMATION MANAGER INTERNAL REVIEW ADDRESS]

If you are still dissatisfied following an internal review you also have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at Commissionerís Officer, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.  

end attachment

Title: Re: Standard Response for all 0870 FOI's
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Nov 9th, 2005 at 11:28am
In my opinion this is a classic example of the Police abusing their power as Policemen to try to scare the public out of asking them any further questions.

These claims about it being vexatious for their staff to receive these queries are ridiculous.  The staff on their contact centre switchboards, who usually have an IQ of about 73, continue to maintain fictitiously that 0845 is a Local Rate call.  How is it an abuse of the FOI to ask the Police to discontinue their misinformation and to provide geographic alternative numbers that do not make it prohibitive for the public to afford to call them on mobile phones.  I find it very disappointing that the Police use their authority as Policemen to try to scare off questions from the public about their own incorrect actions.

Anyone receiving such an abusive and slamming response from the Police should request an Internal Review, Appeal to the Information Commissioner and go to their  member of Parliament.  It is so typical of a Policeman's mindset to try to paint us as troublemakers when they are the ones who are at fault.

Clearly they expect to go on stonewalling on 0845 till they bring in their equally abusive 101 number excluded from inclusive call pakages and charged at a non standard rate.  It is outrageous that rather than righting their error they try to use Police authority to scare the public away.

In my opinion New Labour must be directly behind the whole 084/7 scam industry for this kind of nonsense to be going on.

Title: Re: Standard Response for all 0870 FOI's
Post by idb on Nov 9th, 2005 at 12:33pm
They are really rattled. Good. They deserve it. This shows just how disgraceful the whole wretched NTS regime really is, with police forces doing their utmost to protect their numbers.

This should not put anyone off from making FOI requests. MPs are now asking repeated questions about the scam in parliament, and rightly so. If it is good enough for MPs, then it's good enough for me.

The claim that staff is under 'stress' because of this is laughable. One wonders what would happen if something truly serious descended upon their offices.

I will continue to make FOI requests to those police forces that do not provide telephone numbering to permit international inbound access. These police forces discriminate against me, a British citizen resident in another country, and therefore their actions are unacceptable. This missive does not scare me and only strengthens my resolve.

If police forces are so inept as to issue 0870 casulaty bureau numbers following a major event in an international city, then they have to face the criticism that they deserve.

Get a grip, PLEASE!

Title: Re: Standard Response for all 0870 FOI's
Post by idb on Nov 9th, 2005 at 1:14pm
What generally happens when government receives repeated similar requests for information, for example where journalists have asked about government advice prior to the Iraq war, is that the department or agency publishes that information. This simple, cheap and effective action seems far too complex for police forces to entertain.

If police forces are reading this, then let me offer some free advice to eliminate the stress of your poor staff.

If you use 0845 and 0870 numbers, then publish, alongside these numbers, the geographic equivalents. These are numbers that begin with the digits 01 or 02. This will lead to four impovements:

1) UK residents will benefit from cheaper calls;
2) Those oustide the UK will actually be able to get through;
3) You will stop receiving FOI requests;
4) Your staff will be happier.

Simple. There is no charge for my advice.

Title: Re: Standard Response for all 0870 FOI's
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Nov 9th, 2005 at 1:33pm
Unfortunately most of the uk Police have a policy of intimidation and secrecy towards any request for information from the public and always assume the public do not have the right to know. †The Police sadly are hopeless salesmen and always have the attitude that we are right and that even you the law abiding citizen will do as you are told.

We see this only too clearly in respect of the poor Brazilan gentleman and other innocent civilians murdered by incompetent trigger happy police officers and in respect of the continuing saga of the Surrey Policy inquiry into the Deepcut barracks supposed suicides.

By the way I have posted mc661s original revelation on the anonymous email over in the Police 101 thread where it is likely to get read by a wider audience.

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by mc661 on Nov 10th, 2005 at 2:42pm
Bedforshire Police have just sent me the same cut n paste response to my recent FOI.

The funny thing is, they also dont use 0870/0845, so why the cut n paste response?

I have pasted the response at http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?board=foi;action=display;num=1131633864

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by c__m__h on Nov 21st, 2005 at 1:21pm
I would be very tempted to make a FOI request asking for details of the number of 08xx related FOI requests they had recieved as a response to that, make them define vexious, when they come up with a response of 3 or 4 then that could make that argument decidedly ropey I would think.

The bit that really make my laugh is "If you are still dissatisfied following an internal review you also have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at Commissionerís Officer" who issued the guidelines for how to fob you off... right that could be a farse!

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by lhrowrker on Jan 18th, 2006 at 7:58pm

mc661 wrote on Nov 10th, 2005 at 2:42pm:
Bedforshire Police have just sent me the same cut n paste response to my recent FOI.

The funny thing is, they also dont use 0870/0845, so why the cut n paste response?

I have pasted the response at http://www.saynoto0870.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.cgi?board=foi;action=display;num=1131633864



Funny as hampshire police use an 0845 number as their general number.......

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by mc661 on Jan 18th, 2006 at 8:28pm
eh?

I said bedfordshire not hants

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by username132 on Feb 6th, 2006 at 8:54am
I found this;

It's says for a "real" emergency dial 999, so I'm not sure what these "quasi-emergency" numbers are for... ring 'em and see?

http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/999/

I found 'em using the search string; police ellesmere 0151

Useful?

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Feb 6th, 2006 at 9:01am

username132 wrote on Feb 6th, 2006 at 8:54am:
It's says for a "real" emergency dial 999, so I'm not sure what these "quasi-emergency" numbers are for... ring 'em and see?

http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/999/

I found 'em using the search string; police ellesmere 0151

Useful?


I imagine they are for reporting that you found your car scratched or somebody broke a pane of glass in your window or to discuss further your burglary of a week ago and whether the Police have made any progress.

In other words they are for the same job that some Police forces have now insisted on adopting an expensive single 0845 non emergency number for.

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by username132 on Feb 8th, 2006 at 7:58am
Which police forces? Have you tried a search on google? You should search using the term; police phone <your area code>
or something like that

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by martinlorenzo on Mar 29th, 2006 at 3:48pm
Can anyone tell me if they have appealed to the information commissioner regarding this standard response?

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by mc661 on Mar 30th, 2006 at 3:54am
martinlorenzo
it was the IC that gave this standard response to the police in the first place, they are unlikly to say that what they issued was wrong!

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by NonGeographicalMan on Mar 30th, 2006 at 9:01am

mc661 wrote on Mar 30th, 2006 at 3:54am:
martinlorenzo
it was the IC that gave this standard response to the police in the first place


Where did you get that information mc661?

I'm looking forward to the outcome of my current complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority against Sky Travel Shop (on Sky Travel and Sky Three) now saying that their 0870 number costs "the national rate of 8p per minute"!

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by mc661 on Mar 30th, 2006 at 7:59pm
If you read the top of this thread?

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by idb on Apr 1st, 2006 at 3:34pm
When I spoke with a IC officer around a week ago, I was assured that there is no 'standard response' or 'cookie cutter' boilerplate reply or exemption for police forces and that each FOI request relating to NTS has to be treated on its own merits.

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by trevord on Apr 1st, 2006 at 5:49pm
Well, they're not going to admit it are they??   ::)
... Even if the person you spoke to actually knew ...
And bear in mind that mc661 said that he had been told confidentially.  :-X

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by bbb_uk on Apr 2nd, 2006 at 5:51pm

idb wrote on Apr 1st, 2006 at 3:34pm:
When I spoke with a IC officer around a week ago, I was assured that there is no 'standard response' or 'cookie cutter' boilerplate reply or exemption for police forces and that each FOI request relating to NTS has to be treated on its own merits.
Yeah, and Ofcom are on the side of us consumers as well! †;)

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by stitsevol on Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:58pm
I have only just joined this site and have read with great interest all of your posts as we all know what goes on but feel powerless most of the time to do anything about it , its good that this site brings these subjects into the public domain. Reading these posts also reminded me of something that occured when I was a small child that shows how stupid some people can be regarding information and how ill informed some of them are, when I was a small child my father used to do charity work some of which involved visiting prisoners, on one particular day he was not sure of the visiting times so phoned Directory Enquiries to ask for the prisons phone number only to be met with "sorry we cant give out information regarding prisons as we have no way of knowing who you are" so he also asked a couple of goverment departments and got the same answer I then said "why don't you look in the phone book" to which everyone laughed and advised me that if you cant get it from Directory Enquiries it will not be in the phone book but I looked and there it was as plain as day.

Title: Re: Standard Police Responses to ALL 08xx Police F
Post by Rick_B on Oct 20th, 2008 at 11:58am
no wonder people keep using the 999 number when trying to get the Police...

Which brings me to the classic question .... If your house is being broken into by a set of hooded robbers and you dial 999 and are asked what service do you need, who do you ask for and why?

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