ICO allocates Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 authorisations complaint to Team 2 (Education, Police, Justice) queue


When the Information Commissioner's Office get around to considering the complaint regarding last November's Freedom of Information Act request for the locations and durations of the statutory Authorisations made under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, i.e. the supposedly temporary areas where normal Police stop and search powers are exceptionally changed to become stop and search without reasonable suspicion powers ?

The ICO wrote in May that they had at least a 12 week backlog.

They have now written again, in August, having allocated the complaint to the

Team 2 (Education, Police and Justice) queue

However, there is no estimate of when this complaint will be looked at, let alone resolved.

Click on the HO Terrorism Act 2000 s44 Authorisations category archive, for the full saga of delays so far.

Text of the (paper snail mail) letter:

Information Commissioner's Office
Promoting public access to official information

and protecting your personal information


20th August 2008

Case Reference Number FS5019nnnn

Dear Mr XXX

We last wrote to you on 6 may 2008, about the Freedom of Information ACt complaint you made to the Information Commissioner. This complaint concerns the request you made to the Home Office on 14 November 2007. The request concerns the number of authorisations under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Not quite. It is about the refusal to disclose the minimum information laid down by the Act of Parliament, regarding the approximate geographical locations and the durations of such supposedly temporary, exceptional Authorised extensions of Police stop and search powers.

Your case has been allocated to the Team 2 (Education, Police and Justice) queue and will be assigned to a complaints officer who will contact you. Unfortunately, until this allocation has been made we are not able to provide you with any further comment about either the content or the progress of your complaint.

I apologise for the delays you are likely to experience prior to allocation.

I will write to you every twelve weeks prior to the allocation and a Complaints Officer will write to you to inform you when your case is allocated.

Should circumstances change and you decide at any stage not to pursue your complaint, we would be grateful if you could let us know.

This will be pursued until the Home office discloses the requested information.

It is totally unacceptable for there to be, effectively, secret laws in operation in the UK, especially regarding Police stop and search powers - that is not what allowed and required under the Terrorism Act 2000. That is what appears to be happening in practice, very counter productively and ineffectively, in terms of fighting terrorism, wasting lots of Police time and public money, inconveniencing the public, and damaging community relations.

Yours sincerely


David McNeil
Complaints officer

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
t: 0845 630 6060 f: 01625 524510 e: mail@ico.gov.uk w: ico.gov.uk


Julian Todd has a similar FOIA request in the process of being rejected by the Home Office, which you can see on the rapidly developing WhatDoTheyKnow FOIA submission and tracking website:


If only I'd known. If only Spyblog used the WhatDoTheyKnow archive instead of shunning it like he does TheyWorkForYou links.

(By the way, that link to Hansard in your May 15, 2008 post will be broken in a few months when they bind the volume and change the cm to a vo in the URL)

I'm really pissed at their answer to me (it costs too much to gather the information), when you know they've got to have databases in there, otherwise how could they produce those summary statistics?

So, taking a step back...


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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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