Martin McGartland Investigation - 815/10
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 12/12/2010
Date of response: 14/01/2011
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your email dated 12 December 2010 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
Many thanks for your prompt reply as regards said matter (Attempted murder of Martin McGartland) although i ask for some further clarification over this case with respect.......
You told me a review was concluded in 2007 as regards said matter...
Please can you furnish me with evidence that said review was carried out and by whom i.e Names and ranks of officers involved.
Can you furnish me with the policy documentation as regards these said reviews.
What were the findings of said review?
What do you mean by the term such cases?
What date was said review carried out in 2007?
Can you tell me why said review has taken 8 years to be carried out?
Have Northumbria Police established any connection that this was a terrorist attack?
Are Northumbria Police treating this as a terrorist attack?
DNA and forensic evidence was recovered from the scene of this attempted murder on Mr McGartlands life therefore have you ever had a match or close match as regards said evidence?
As a result of your disclosure over said review can i ask when there is likely to be another review held over said investigation?
As advised earlier this request has been aggregated with your previous request (FOI 0738/10 refers) for costing/time purposes as the subject area is the same.
Your request is regarding an ongoing investigation, the Disclosure Section has received a number of other requests regarding this subject matter. Due to the vexatious nature of the requests already received on this subject (manifestly unreasonable), on the 13 November 2009 it was deemed that any further requests received that were on this subject were also to be classed as vexatious. Your request falls into this category. It is important to note that it is the request and not the requestor that can be made vexatious. It is the subject matter of your request that determines whether it can be deemed as a vexatious request in these circumstances.
A substantial number of requests have come through the same web-site and it is apparent that these requestors are acting in concert due to the similarity, frequency and nature of the requests. The request from you is one of this series of requests received on this subject and accordingly can be classed as obsessive and manifestly unreasonable.
Section 14 - Freedom of Information Act 2000
Please note a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request for information if the request is deemed as vexatious.
Case law states that "In most cases, the vexatious nature of a request will only emerge after considering the request in its context and background. As part of that context, the identity of the requester and past dealings with the public authority can be taken into account." Mr J Welsh v The Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner offers guidance on declaring requests as vexatious and states that "A request may not be vexatious in isolation, but when considered in context (for example if it is the latest in a long series of overlapping requests or correspondence) it may form part of a wider pattern of behaviour that makes it vexatious."
Previous requests are a relevant factor when declaring a request as vexatious. Your request is further evidence of a pattern of behaviour towards the Force. It is appropriate to note at this time that your request adds to a pattern of requests made to the public authority. In this case, the Force has received multiple requests which seek to obtain information which relates to or has a relevance to the investigation into the incident. Indeed, the pattern of requests goes back to 2009.
As you are acting in concert with Mr McGartland, it is clear that the requests submitted are part of a campaign designed to disrupt the normal business process of the Force.
There are processes in place, including victim support that can offer appropriate limited sharing of information between the Police Service and the victim. This sharing is fully compliant with relevant legislation and therefore such a release into the public domain lacks serious purpose or value.
Having concluded that your request is on a significantly similar subject to another request deemed as vexatious and as your request would cause a significant burden, is designed to cause disruption and is manifestly unreasonable and obsessive, it has also been deemed as vexatious.
You should note that following this correspondence, we are not obliged to, nor do we intend to, take any further steps in relation to this matter or any further requests that you may submit that are deemed to fall into the remit of vexatious.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.
Data Protection and Disclosure Advisor
Direct Dial: 01661 868347