Alcock v Information Commissioner  UKIT EA_2006_0022 (8 January 2007)
Appeal Number: EA/2006/0022 FS50086598
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
Heard on the papers
Date: 12th December 2006
Date: 3rd January 2007
INFORMATION TRIBUNAL CHAIRMAN
Malcolm Clarke and Jenni Thompson
EDWIN ALCOCK Appellant
INFORMATION COMMISSIONER Respondent
CHIEF CONSTABLE OF STAFFORDSHIRE POLICE Additional Party
The Tribunal upholds the decision notice dated 6th April 2006 and dismisses the appeal.
Reasons for Decision
The request for information
(a) Evidence to show why Staffordshire Police have taken no action to recover public funds wasted by your malicious informant.
(b) Evidence to show why Staffordshire Police refused to release the name of a malicious informant.
(c) Evidence to show why Staffordshire Police are protecting a known malicious informant.
(d) Evidence to show why Staffordshire Police are knowingly breaching the Data Protection Act where a malicious intent has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Background to the request
The complaint to the Information Commissioner
(1) Whether Mr. Alcock's request was vexatious within section 14 of FOIA;
(2) Whether the requested information was held by Staffordshire Police; and
(3) Whether the identity of the informant who gave the Police information about Mr. Alcock was exempt from disclosure.
Questions for the Tribunal.
a. that the exemptions in paragraph 19 above applied preventing the disclosure of the identity of the informant; and
b. there was no information about any investigation or attempt to recover public funds.
The exemptions applied
(1) If on an appeal under section 57 the Tribunal considers-
(a) that the notice against which the appeal is brought is not in
accordance with the law, or
(b) to the extent that the notice involved an exercise of discretion by the Commissioner, that he ought to have exercised his discretion differently,
the Tribunal shall allow the appeal or substitute such other notice as could have been served by the Commissioner; and in any other case the Tribunal shall dismiss the appeal.
(2) On such an appeal, the Tribunal may review any finding of fact on which the notice in question was based.
Section 40(2) FOIA
"processing", in relation to information or data, means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data
The definition goes on to specify four operations which would amount to processing, including:
disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available.
Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, and, in particular, shall not be processed unless:
(a) at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met; and
(b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.
(i) disclosure would be unfair because it would be contrary to the reasonable
expectations of the confidential informant; and
(ii) there was no basis for disclosure of the information under Schedule 2 to the DPA 1998.
[t]he processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.
Section 30(2)(b) FOIA
Public interest in favour of disclosure
Public interest in favour of maintaining the exemption
Tribunal's finding on public interest
The existence of the information requested
Signed: John Angel
Date: 3rd January 2007