Last updated on August 15th, 2023 at 06:02 pmReading Time: 3 minutes
Some will no doubt say that was long overdue, but overdue or not, I have met my Waterloo. Merde. That’s Me Put Back In My Box Then
You may, or may not, remember, but over a year ago now I asked the Met for some murder statistics.
They provided me with almost everything I asked for. ALMOST.
They gave me broad details of all the murders and attempted murders that I’d enquired about, except for, in the case of Attempted Murders they withheld the Boroughs. Apparently so that neither I , nor anybody else, would be able to identify the suspects and frustrate the investigation.
I have no desire to do such a thing, but I seriously doubt that even Sherlock Holmes would be able to do that.
Then we get to the real nitty gritty. Whilst supplying me with the Borough, age, gender and ethnicity of both Victim and Suspect(s) they categorically refused to put them together.
Their reason for Refusing?
Included in the 3 pages of gobbledygook is this pearl
“……..disclosure of the information requested could identify living persons captured by the scope of this request. Individuals could analyse the information (and along with local knowledge and information already disclosed) identify those concerned as part of the investigation.
This would hinder the prevention and detection of crime and also prejudice the MPS’s ability to fairly conduct an investigation and future investigations of this
Now I can be quite imaginative and resourceful, but does anybody really believe that if I was told that a young black male in Lambeth had been murdered by a young, black male, that I would be able to work out the identity of the suspect? I didn’t ask for any descriptors other than gender, age and ethnicity. No height, no nicknames, no clothing, yet I’m supposed to be able to work out who dunnit.
Not to roll over and cave in I appealed this decision first to the Met and then to the Information Commissioner. The Met upheld the original decision, and the ICO backed them up.
As part of their investigation the ICO caseworker quite properly asked the Met to expand upon their reasons for declining. Well, I don’t know who their scriptwriter is but they deserve an award
“…….the release of the information requested could lead to the identification or misidentification of those persons linked to attempted murders, placing these persons at risk. The release of any information that is likely to put individuals at risk of harm and prejudice the ability of the MPS to both prevent and detect crime is unlikely to be in the public interest.”
So not only can I identify the suspects, or witnesses, but now I would be putting them at risk of physical harm by pursuing my request.
And then it got even better
“… The review considers that there is a real risk to individuals particularly where suspect data has been linked to victim data. To provide a hypothetical example, if a gang member had attempted to murder an associate, the information … requested (Borough, Gender, Age and Ethnic Appearance of both Victim and Suspect) would be useful to the suspect to determine if the matter had been reported to police by the victim and this would place the victim at further risk of attack”.
Apart from anything else, once a person has been murdered they’re not at much risk of further harm.
The Information Commissioner is not much better
“Taking all the above into account, whilst the Commissioner accepts that disclosing the withheld information would be likely to promote transparency, he considers that the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the investigation and prosecution of any of these offences – and other unknown offences – is not undermined.”
So there we have it. Trying to establish the scale of the problem in London, where children and young people are killing children and young people is likely to undermine the investigations, and I wouldn’t want that.
Dear Metropolitan Police if you want to play these games instead of informing the public what is happening in London then I’ll happily leave you to it, completely undisturbed, but rest assured, I will still be sat in the shadows watching what is going on, and you had better deal with this issue and stop this slaughter on the streets of our Capital.
Fobbing off people who care about it is not really acceptable in my view, but hey ho, your game, your rules.