Home Office - Office for Counter Terrorism and Security reject our renewed FOIA request regarding Terrorism Act 2000 s44 Authorisations

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Why has it taken the Home Ofice so long not to consider the new balance of Public Interest in favour of disclosure, compared to our original Freedom of Information Act request back in 2007 ?

What is so difficult about telling us exactly when and where tempoarary , extrordinary legal powers actually apply ?

Given the revelations by the new Conservative / Liberal Democrat governmet of so many mistakes by Regional Police Forces, the central Metropolitan Police unit, Home Office civil servants and the politicians at the Home Office, regarding these Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 / 45 Authorisations, which haveresulted in in hundreds or thousands o illegal stops and searches, we must conclude that, contrary to the Freedom of Information Act, the real reason for the refusal of our FOIA request is politcal coverup rather than genuine national security.

Home Office
Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
OSCTFOI@homeoffice.x.gsi.gov.uk Website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk

FOI reference: 15213

[name]
[email]

27 September 2010

Dear [name]

I am writing further to my e-mail of 1 September 2010 about your request for information on s44 (Terrorism Act 2000) authorisations. Your request has been handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You made a request for similar information on s44 authorisations in November 2007. The request for that information was considered by the Home Office and, subsequently, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). In their Decision Notice of 8 February 2010 (ref: FS50198733) the Commissioner held that the requested information was properly withheld under the exemption at section 24 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act. Consequently, I am of the opinion that the Home Office has fully considered the requests for information on points 1 - 5 in your current request. I do not believe that it is necessary to address these requests once more as our assessment remains that the disclosure of the information you requested would damage national security, for the same reasons as previously provided.

In addition to the above requests, you also asked to be informed of which Ministers have confirmed which s44 authorisations (and when) between February 2001 (when the Terrorism Act 2000 came into force) and 11 June 2010. In the ICO's Decision Notice of February 2010, the Commissioner indicated that the disclosure of details such as dates, times and geographical locations (i.e. which forces have authorised use of the power) could assist terrorists by allowing them to '...ascertain the likelihood of their activities coming to the attention of the police or anti-terrorist agencies'. The Commissioner was of the opinion '..that any advantages gained by further informing the public would be significantly outweighed by the factors for protecting the public by maintaining the exemption' (i.e. Section 24(1)). Consequently, the Home Office considers that details of the forces who had S44 authorisations in place and when these authorisations were in place come within the exemption at S24(1). From the information available,however, I have provided a list of those Ministers who have confirmed s44 authorisations in this period - see annex A.

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling of your request by submitting a complaint within two months to the address below, quoting reference 15213. If you ask for an internal review, it would be helpful if you could say why you are dissatisfied with the response.

Information Access Team

Home Office
Ground Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
e-mail: FOIRequests@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

As part of any internal review the Department's handling of your information request will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with this response. If you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you would have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely

[name of civil servant]


The list of Labour politicians who have signedTerrorism Act 2000 Section 44 Stop and Search *Wwithout* Reasonable Supicion requests, is long and dishonourable.

We do not trust any of these people::

Annex A

PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION

Name Appointment

John Denham Minister of state,

Home Office: 2001- 2003

Beverley Hughes Minister of State, Home Office:2002-04

Keith Bradley Minister of State, Home Office, 2001-02.

Bob Ainsworth Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Home Office, 2001-03

Angela Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2001-02

Jeff Rooker Minister of State: 2001-02

David Blunkett Secretary of State for the Home Department: 2001-
04

Hilary Benn Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2002-03

Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State: 2002-03

Lord Falconer of Thoroton Home Office (Criminal Justice, Sentencing and Law
(Charles Falconer) Reform) 2002-03,

Baron Filkin of Pimlico (Life Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and
Baron), David Geoffrey Nigel Government Spokesperson for:
Filkin Home Office 2002-03,

Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State:
Home Office 2003-06,

Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office 2003-05;

Fiona MacTaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office, 2003-06

Hazel Blears Minister of State, Home Office, 2003-06

Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State and Government Spokesperson for
(Life Baroness), Patricia Janet Home Office 2003-07;
Scotland;

Des Browne Minister of State Home Office, 2004-05

Charles Clarke Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2004-
06.

Tony McNulty Minister of State Home Office, 2005-08;

Andy Burnham Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home
Office 2005-06

John Reid Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2006-
07

Jacqui Smith Secretary of State for the Home Dept, 2007-09

Vernon Coaker Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, 2006-08

and Minister of State, 2008-09

Meg Hillier Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Home Office
2007-10

David Hanson Minister of State
Home Office 2009-10

Adm. Alan William John West Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and
Government Spokesperson, Home Office 2007-10
Lord West of Spithead


It is interesting that, according to this FOIA response, neither Home Secretary Theresa May , nor any other Conservative / Liberal Democrat Home Office Ministers, apart from Baroness Neville-Jones have signed any such Authorisations:

CURRENT ADMINISTRATION

Baroness Neville-Jones of Hutton Roof Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,
Home Office 2010 -

How long will the Home Office bureaucrats atempt to delay our request for an Internal Review ?

1 Comment

They obviously just wanted more time to respond, illegally (ironically for the de facto Interior Ministry).

So you might be interested in the news that the ICO will supposedly be cracking down on the Home Office's slowness in resolving FOI queries quickly: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/opensecrets/2010/10/new_crackdown_on_foi_delays.html

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This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

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