Reply from Information Commissioner's Office re Met Police data protection register entry

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Should Freedom of Information Act request actually be necessary in order to get Public Authorities to actually re-publish stuff online which used to be public ?

From: [name]
To: [email]
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 30 Mar 2007 15:00:36.
Ref: FOI/599

Dear [XXX]

Re: Your Request for Information

Further to your request for information dated 2nd March 2007.

A reply just within the 20 working days statutory maximum time period.

In response to points 1, 2 and 3 in your request. I write to confirm the Commissioner for the Metropolis are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. The search criteria of 'Police' and 'London' would not have identified this record.

We specifically also tried "Commissioner", "Metropolis", "Metropolitan" and other keyword combinations, to no avail, until the entry magically re-appeared less than a week after the FOIA request.

See Metropolitan Police Service - Data Protection Register entry - Z4888193

As requested, a copy of the entry is available on the public register of data controllers which is published on our website. The registration number is Z4888193. The date registered is 9 September 2000 and the date of expiry is 8 September 2007. Notification is a general statement of the processing being carried out by the data controller. It is not intended, nor is it practicable for the register entry to contain very detailed information about a data controller's processing. The aim is to keep the content at a general level, with sufficient detail to give an overall picture of the processing, therefore data controllers are not required to list specific databases within their registration but register the purpose of the processing i.e Policing.

That is what we asked for, using the word "Policing":

"1) Whether or not the Metropolitan Police Service or the Metropolitan Police Commissioner currently have a valid Registration entry on the Register of Data Controllers, covering the Data Purpose of Policing, i.e."

In response to point 4 in your request. The recorded information held identifies that a standard letter regarding renewal confirmation in respect of Z4888193 was issued from this Office on 16 February 2007 to the data controller.

We wrote to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and enquired of the Information Commissioner's Office via phone on 23rd January 2007.

Most of the other Police Forces also have Register of Data Controller entries stretching for 7 years back from 2000, to autumn of 2007, without any such problems.

Draw you own conclusions as to whether there has been an error, which they are not admitting to.

I hope this clarifies the questions raised. If you are dissatisfied with the response you have received and wish to request a review of our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been handled you should write to the Information Request Team at the address below or e-mail

Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of
the Commissioner.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further
right of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory
complaint handler under the legislation. To make such an application,
please write to the Senior Complaints Resolution Manager, Complaints
Resolution Team at the address below or e-mail

A copy of our review procedure is attached along with details of our
enforcement powers and your rights of appeal.

Yours sincerely

Notification Manager

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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.

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