Friday, 26 August 2011

Dyfed Powys Police - Data Protection Response

I have had a response to my data protection request from Dyfed Powys Police. There's not much, and I hope I can safely assume there shouldn't be any more, just what's happened this year. It consists of several computer printouts with much of it redacted an awful lot of abbreviations. It took me ages to figure out what 'ASB' was, then it dawned on me it was Anti Social Behaviour, not a phrase I am accustomed to seeing alongside my name, nor in relation to filming a council meeting, I would have thought it was the complete opposite.

Anyway, the speed of the response to incident on the 8th June is explained by the fact that it was classed as a 'Priority 1' incident, an emergency; ie danger to life, violent behaviour, serious crime in progress etc I am still surprised (that's an understatement) by the quantity of cars and officers who attended particularly as I can now see that the council told the police there was a 'Jacqui Thompson' in the gallery who was filming a meeting and refusing to leave - unless that was council code for 'armed robbery in progress' I fail to understand the excessive deployment of police resources.
The arresting officer's 'grounds for detaining the person' began with; 'officers have attended a report of a female having been recording a council meeting at county hall and that she had refused to stop recording and to leave the premises when requested to do so. On arrival officers located the female and could clearly see an image of the council chamber on the screen of her mobile phone...' It's a pity they weren't aware of the police guidance issued last year. I am not sure either why I was arrested to prevent a 'further breach of the peace' I wasn't aware I had already caused one, or was about to for that matter. Interestingly, according to the council, (and from another source) police officers attended County Hall later that day as part of their enquiries into the Standing Orders, members of the public filming and restricting access to the public gallery, they were met by the Heads of Legal and 'Democratic [sic] Services' who 'provided the required explanations' - I can only presume they didn't have any, shortly after that I was released.

One other thing, according to the police log, and confirming my recollection, it was nearly two and a half hours from arrest to custody which is a bloody long time to be in handcuffs.

(See also; New Statesman, June 2011)


Cneifiwr said...

Perhaps it may be worth making an FOI request to the police for disclosure of the notes the officers made during their second visit when they met the heads of Legal and (Un)Democratic Services.

That would be a very interesting conversation.

Anonymous said...

I audited the police when I worked for the Audit Commission.

One of the areas that had me absolutely astounded, was the % of complaints against the police that were substantiated. It was tiny - something like 1 – 2% of all complaints made (which was obviously why I queried it).

But you know the really incredible thing was, that for their next year’s targets (re the Best Value Performance Indicators), they had a target to achieve of MORE complaints, with a substantiation rate of FEWER! So – naturally I queried this, and was told that the target of an increase in complaints was to encourage more complainants to come forward – which is quite good really, when you see that on its own. But coupled with the other target, it meant more complaints and we’ll disprove a higher percent!

I asked my Audit Commission manager what to do about this, which I thought was outrageous – but typically of the AC (a complete waste of time and money organisation, certainly the one I worked for, anyway) he never even enquired about it, let alone challenged it, and certainly did not include it in his report.

So, if you’re making a complaint – maybe ask for these up-to-date statistics and put them on your blog?