Thank you for your request for information regarding ACPO UAS Steering Group which has now been considered.

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1 c/o PO BOX 481 Fareham Hampshire PO14 9FS Tel: /08/2013 Dear Mr Jones FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NUMBER: /13 Thank you for your request for information regarding ACPO UAS Steering Group which has now been considered. Applicant Question: 1. For the ACPO unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) steering group, please provide: The remit of the group; A list of members of the group, including their respective roles/positions; A list of meetings held between 01/07/2009 and 23/07/2013, to include date, time, agenda, minutes. 2. From 01/07/2009 to 23/07/2013, have any ACPO representatives held discussions or attended meetings with representatives held discussions or attended meetings with representatives of UAS manufacturers, UAS manufacturers industry bodies, or other bodies representing the interests of UAS manufacturers? If so, please can you provide date, time, agenda and minutes? 3. From 01/07/2009 to 23/07/2013, have any ACPO representatives held discussions with representatives of police forces or government bodies, departments in relation to the use of AUS? If so, please can you provide date, time, agenda and minutes? 4. Please provide a list of police forces which have designated a single point of contact (SPOC) for UAS matters, as requested in Assistant Chief Constable Alan Featherstone s letter of 26 June 2012 (attached). 5. Please provide a copy of the document that seeks to standardise the governance of UAS by police forces referred to in Assistant Chief Constable Featherstone s letter. 1st Floor, 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN T F Registered in England and Wales as a private company limited by guarantee. Registered number Registered office 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN Company Secretary: Tom Flaherty

2 ACPO Response: Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act requires ACPO, when refusing to provide information by way of exemption, is to provide you with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states why the exemption applies. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for those aspects of your request. ACPO unmanned aerial systems steering group sits under the Uniformed Operations Business Area and forms part of the Air Operations portfolio. DCC Weigh became ACPO lead in 2011 when ACC Thomas retired. Prior to this, the lead was ACC Alan Featherstone from Northamptonshire Police since the establishment of the group in Question 1 There is no record which states the remit of the group, nor a complete list of members, to include their respective roles/positions held by the current portfolio. However, I do wish to draw your attention to the Minutes dated 16/03/2012 which does state that DCC Weigh provided verbal clarity as to the purpose of the group. The minutes include a highlighted number of areas which were discussed. You may be aware that the legislation places two key obligations on an authority that is covered by the Act when they are considering a request for information. These obligations are set out in section 1(1) and stipulate that when that authority receives a valid request (which is defined elsewhere in the Act (S(8)) that authority must confirm what information is or is not held (S1(1)(a)), and, if that information is held, it must be provided to the applicant unless it is considered to be exempt information (S1(1)(b)). ACPO do hold part of the information captured by your request in the form of Agenda and Minutes of meetings held between 01/07/2009 and 23/07/2013 which includes detail of date and time. These documents have been redacted by virtue of S27(1)(a)(b) and (d) International Relations, S31(1)(a)(b) Law Enforcement and S40(2) Personal Information which I detail further within this letter and for your convenience note these documents below and any redactions made below. Please note that there is no Agenda held for 16/03/2012 Meeting /02/2010 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 02 24/02/2010 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 redactions 03 08/06/2010 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 04 08/06/2010 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 redactions 05 15/09/2010 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 06 15/09/2010 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S31 redactions 07 05/05/2011 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 08 05/05/2011 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S27 redactions 09 12/10/2011 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 10 12/10/2011 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S31 redactions 11 16/03/2012 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S31 redactions 12 09/10/2012 UAS Steering Group Agenda / 13 09/10/2012 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S31 redactions

3 14 13/06/2013 UAS Steering Group Agenda S31 redactions 15 13/06/2013 UAS Steering Group Minutes S40 & S31 redactions Section 27 International Relations - the legislation: (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this act would, or would be likely to, prejudice (a) relations between the united Kingdom and any other State, (b) relations between the United Kingdom and any international organisation or international court, (c) the interests in the United Kingdom abroad, or (d) the promotion or protection by the United Kingdom of its interests abroad. S27 is a qualified exemption which requires ACPO to consider the public interest in whether to release the information in favour of non release. Furthering the understanding and participation in the public debate of issues of the day, as well as promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them will increase public confidence by promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money. However, the exemption does not necessarily focus on the scale or importance of the issue or on the subject or type of the information, but on whether UK interests abroad, or the international relations of the UK would be prejudiced through the disclosure of the information relating to the issue. It would not be fair to other countries to disclose any information relating to the use of such technology abroad, which in turn would or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders on foreign soil. Disclosure of this information includes tactical capabilities. This would enable those with criminal intent to target specific areas of these countries to conduct their criminal or terrorist activities. This would also enable criminals to take measures to counteract the tactical capabilities of these countries police forces. This would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and those countries, thereby engaging the exemption S27(1)(a)(b) and (d). It is for this reason that ACPO s decision is to withhold the information. Section 31 Law Enforcement the legislation: (1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to prejudice (a) the prevention or detection of crime (b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Under Section 31 of the Act, ACPO is able to withhold information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Section 31(a)(b) Law enforcement is engaged for the redaction of the more tactical data from within the documents. Section 31 is a qualified and prejudice-based exemption. This requires the production of evidence of what prejudice may be caused and consideration as to the public interest in disclosure. Any disclosure under FOIA is a disclosure to the world at large not just to the individual making the request. Some of the information contained within the documents is tactical. Disclosure of this information would enable those with criminal intent to target specific areas of the UK to conduct their criminal or terrorist activities. This would also enable criminals to take measures to counteract the tactical capabilities of police forces. Disclosure of the information would have the likelihood of identifying location-specific vulnerabilities, which would ultimately compromise police tactics, operations and future prosecutions. Any information identifying the focus of policing activity could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations. Information that undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on law enforcement. Public safety would be put at risk if criminals were able to counteract police tactics.

4 ACPO is committed to demonstrating proportionality and accountability. However, if ACPO were to disclose any further information regarding the work of the UASSG, police tactics would either be compromised or significantly weakened. The impact could undermine on-going investigations and any future investigations, as it would enable targeted individuals/groups to become tactically aware of the police capabilities. This would help subjects avoid detection, and inhibit the prevention and detection of crime. There is already a vast amount of information regarding Air Operations in the public domain and disclosure of further information would allow the public to see what their public finds are spent on and what tactical provisions are in place to protect the community. If criminals were able to counteract police tactics this would have the affect of undermining law enforcement and hindering the prevention and detection of crime. This would mean that more crime would be committed which would impact on police resources and ultimately public safety would be put at risk. ACPO will not disclose information which may hinder the effective management of law enforcement or place police staff or officers at risk. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and in this case providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively managing this area of policing, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding the tactical abilities. The prevention and detection of crime is the foundation upon which policing is built and the Police Service have a clear responsibility to prevent crime and arrest those responsible for committing crime or those that plan to commit crime. Disclosure of other information pertinent to this request could directly influence the stages of that process, and jeopardise current investigations or prejudice law enforcement. The lack of the enhancement to the public debate that the redacted points produce, coupled with the risks leave me in no doubt that the balance, at this time lies in non disclosure of the redacted information. Section 40 Personal information the legislation: (2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if (a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and (b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied. If the request for information relates to third parties (anybody other than the data subject), it is absolute under Section 40(2) if disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles. Releasing sensitive personal information to someone other than the data subject will almost always infringe the data protection principles contained in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). However, in certain exceptional circumstances where there is significant public interest, or other mitigating circumstances, in releasing that personal data, a public authority can consider those circumstances and considerations to decide whether or not it is in the best interest of the general public for that personal information to be disclosed, even when considered against the rights of those individuals under the Data Protection Act. In order to establish whether any such considerations or circumstances exist in this instance, I have to consider the Data Protection Act principles. If any of these principles are breached, S40(2) becomes absolute which means there is no requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure. The first Data Protection Principle outlines whether it would be fair or lawful to disclose the information. Considerations include the confidentiality expectations of the subject, and the circumstances in which the information was provided. The DPA does not seek to guarantee personal privacy at all costs, but to strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the sometimes competing interests of those with legitimate reasons for using personal information. The legitimate interests of the public in obtaining the name do not come close to countering the damage and distress that would be experienced by the data subject in this case. In the below decision notice, the ICO concluded that the disclosure would be unfair [and they are] satisfied that in this case, the disclosure would be against the reasonable expectations of the data subject, be a breach of their confidentiality and would cause them unwarranted and unjustified damage and distress.

5 ACPO are required to look to balance the consequences of any release of personal data and the reasonable expectations of the data subject, with general principles of accountability and transparency. Therefore in this case, I have concluded it would be unfair to the data subject to disclose the information requested as it would be a clear breach of this first principle. The Information Commissioner s Office (ICO) has issued new guidance in relation to requests for personal data about public authority employees and further information can be found by following the web-link below: Given that the public interest has been met by releasing s and correspondence to you, along with the new ICO Guidance regarding requests for personal data about public authority employees, I am satisfied on this occasion that releasing the names of some of the individuals within the correspondence would be irresponsible and unreasonable on ACPOs part. Question 2 ACPO do not hold information captured by your request. DCC Weigh, the current National Policing Lead, has not held discussions or attended any meetings with UAS manufacturers. The decision to procure a UAS lies with the Chief Officer of each individual force. ACPO do not hold details of any individual force representatives that may have held discussions or attended meetings with representatives of UAS manufacturers, UAS manufacturers industry bodies, or other bodies representing the interest of UAS manufacturers. A consideration for you may be to approach each individual force area. Question 3 ACPO do hold information captured by your request. The minutes of meetings recording discussions with representatives or police forces or government bodies or departments are provided to you within part 1 of your request. Question 4 & 5 ACPO do not hold information captured by your request. ACC Alan Featherstone was the original chair from Northamptonshire Police who chaired the group until his retirement in Therefore, any information captured by part 4 and 5 of your request are no longer held by ACPO. I have contacted Inspector Vaughan to determine whether we can assist you in retrieving any information captured by 4 and 5 of your request. I have been provided with a written statement to confirm that the letter provided by you within your request is dated in error. As stated, ACC Featherstone retired in The current National Policing lead, DCC Weigh does not hold a list of police forces which have designated a single point of contact (SPOC) for UAS matters. You refer to this list which is detailed within a letter dated 26/06/2012 by Chief Constable Alan Featherstone. In addition, ACPO also neither confirm nor deny that they hold any other information relevant to your request by virtue of the following exemptions: Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security bodies Section 24(2) National Security Section 23 Information supplied by, or concerning, certain security bodies: the Legislation (5) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3). This is an absolute exemption and I am therefore not required to complete a public interest test. Section 24 National security: the Legislation

6 (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, exemption from Section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security. This is a qualified prejudice-based exemption which requires evidence of harm and a public interest test. In order to counter criminal and terrorist behaviour it is vital that the police and other agencies have the ability to work together, where necessary covertly, in order to ensure the successful arrest and prosecution of those who commit or plan to commit acts of crime or terrorism. In order to achieve this goal, it is vitally important that information sharing takes place with other police forces and security bodies within the UK and Internationally in order to support counter-terrorism measures in the fight to deprive terrorist networks of their ability to commit crime. Any information identifying tactical capabilities could be used to the advantage of terrorists or criminal organisations. Information that undermines the operational integrity of these activities will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on law enforcement. By confirming or denying whether any other information is held by the UASSG, would allow the public to see where funds are being spent. Some information is already in the public domain and better public awareness may reduce crime or lead to more information from the public. A better informed public can take steps to protect it. By confirming or denying that any other information exists relevant to the request would render security measures less effective. This could lead to the compromise of ongoing or future operations to protect the security and infrastructure of the UK and increase the risk of harm to the public. The security of the country is of paramount importance and ACPO will not divulge whether any other information is or is not held if to do so would undermine National Security or place the safety of the public at risk. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that ACPO is appropriately and effectively engaging with the threat posed by those with a criminal intent, 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. As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced in matters of national security this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. None of the above can be viewed as an inference that any other information does or does not exist. Yours sincerely Sherry Traquair Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker COMPLAINT RIGHTS Internal Review If you are dissatisfied with the response you have been provided with, in compliance with the Freedom of Information legislation, you can lodge a complaint with ACPO to have the decision reviewed within 2 months of the date of this response. The handling of your request will be looked at by someone independent of the original decision, and a fresh response provided. It would be helpful, if requesting a review, for you to articulate in detail the reasons you are not satisfied with this reply. If you would like to request a review, please write or send an to ACPO Freedom of Information, c/o PO Box 481, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9FS.

7 If, after lodging a complaint with ACPO, you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may make an application to the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

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