Sunday, 14 August 2011

Notts Police Authority See No Evil etc

Sorry to upset the current lovefest and hero worship for our wonderful police force following their apparently effective handling of the local riots and I suppose I should also apologise for again reviving the festering pustule that is the housing allocations scandal.

I thought I'd try a bit of a curveball in my attempts at getting hold of information about how aa bunch of NCC and NCH employees got away with nicking a load of council houses. So I sent a FoI request to Notts Police Authority (as opposed to Notts Police themselves, more on that in a bit) asking about any communications, meetings etc they'd had where the subject had come up.

After all, NPA's job is to monitor Notts Police's performance so if there were any doubts about their failure to look into the misappropriation of council houses you'd think that they'd have reason to discuss it wouldn't you? And that would pop up all sorts of difficult 'conflict of interest' questions for any NCC councillors also serving on NPA including, of course, its Chair.

Strangely, the Whatdotheyknow site got its wires crossed and initially sent my request to Notts Police itself. What could have been a slight irritation turned out to be quite interesting as their response confirmed that they held such information but refused it on the grounds of an exemption under s.30 FoIA, investigations into crime. They said the information had been previously requested and refused and the matter was currently before the Information Commissioner.

The thing is, I understood that the justification for Notts Police letting NCC investigate the matter themselves was that there was, in their opinion, no evidence of a crime. Furthermore, this is a 'qualified' exemption i.e. the public interest must be considered. This is one to watch therefore.

Anyway, back to Notts Police Authority.

Their response was that they did NOT hold any information related to the housing allocations scandal. In other words, NPA has never discussed Notts Police's decision not to investigate the matter itself, no meetings have been held to discuss it and, most amusingly, no NPA members have had any contact with police or council officers to discuss it.

I find that one a bit difficult to believe meself. Might have to follow it up.

So we have Nottingham City Council and Notts Police doing everything they can to cover up what happened and now the Police Authority seem to be playing the see/hear/say no evil thing. Not good.

PS If you are the person who submitted the FoI request to Notts Police mentioned above, please do get in touch and let me know how you are getting on.

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