We seem to be going down the same path of deliberate delay and obstruction, with the Home Office breaching the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as before.
Remember, all that we are asking to be published is the bare minimum laid down in the text of the Terrorism Act 200 sections 44 and 45 and 46 i.e. the time and duration and geographical location of each Authorisation to suspend the normal rule of law regarding Stop and Search Without Reasonable Suspicion.
Given the recent revelations of thousands of clerical errors with the Authorisations, rendering thousands of Stops and Searches illegal and the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition policy changes and promises to review this legislation, surely the Public Interest is now even more in favour of full publication.
The unnecessary secrecy appears to have been used for political coverup purposes rather than for any demonstrable national security benefit.
Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
E-mail: OSCTFOI@homeoffice.x.gsi.gov.uk Website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk
FOI Reference: [nnnnn]
4 August 2010
I am writing in relation to your information request dated 11 June 2010 and further to my letter of 6 July 2010. I can confirm receipt of your email dated 6 July 2010.
In keeping with the decision of the ICO (ref: FS50198733) we need to consider fully the use of the exemption in section 24 (1) of the Act, which relates to information supplied by or relating to national security. I have noted the point you have made about section 31 in your email of 6 July. As you are aware, however, the ICO did not consider use of the exemption at section 31(1) (a), (b) and (c). We will still need to address the use of this exemption when responding to your request. To take account of the points raised in your most recent email we need more time and will need a further extension. We now aim to let you have a full response by 2 September 2010.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the delay in replying to your request and assure that we will respond as quickly as possible.
Should you have any queries about the handling of your information request then please do not hesitate to contact me quoting reference [nnnnn]
[name of civil servant]
A reminder to the Home Office, from the previous ICO Decision Notice:
69. Although they do not form part of this Decision Notice the Commissioner wishes to highlight the following matters of concern.
75. During the course of his investigation, the Commissioner has encountered considerable delay on account of the Home Office's reluctance to meet the timescales for response set out in his letters. The delays were such that the Commissioner found it necessary to issue an Information Notice in order to obtain details relevant to his investigation.
76. Accordingly, the Commissioner does not consider the Home Office's approach to this case to be particularly co-operative, or within the spirit of the Act. As such he will be monitoring the authority's future engagement with the ICO and would expect to see improvements in this regard.