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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50106800
  • Date: 20 August 2008
  • Public Authority: Metropolitan Police Service
  • Summary: The complainant sought access to information recorded in ledgers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries held in the Metropolitan Police Service Special Branch Office (the “public authority”). Access was originally agreed for the complainant, outside of the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (“the Act”), but only on the proviso that he would not “publish or communicate to any other person or agency any details contained in these records…” Access was denied under the Act on the grounds that it was exempt under sections 21 (information accessible to applicant by other means), 31 (law enforcement) and 38 (health and safety). In subsequent correspondence the public authority added section 12 (fees) and section 24 (national security) to their reasons for withholding the information. The Commissioner also considered section 30 (investigations). The Commissioner’s decision is that the fees limit did not apply. He finds that section 21 was appropriately applied to the limited information which is already available. He also finds that the exemptions at sections 24, 31 and 38 were not engaged and, whilst section 30(2) was engaged, that the public interest in disclosing the information was not outweighed by the public interest in maintaining it. Additionally, he finds under section 11, that the public authority can give effect to the complainant’s request for inspection of the ledgers. Consequently, the complaint is partly upheld. This decision notice is currently under appeal to the Information Tribunal.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]