Wednesday 28 August 2013

Home Office prevaricates on Kensal Green UKBA FoI request

It appears that the Home Office is issuing a standard response to FoI requests on the UKBA raids on various stations:

This request was made by Paul Anders:

Dear Home Office,

As a resident of the London Borough of Brent, I request information about the activity by UK Border Agency staff at Kensal Green station in Brent on 30th July 2013. Specifically:

1. All correspondence in any form concerning this action between UKBA, the Home Office, other central government departments oragencies on the one hand and the London Borough of Brent and specifically Cllr Muhammed Butt on the other.

2. All minutes of meetings in which the decision to target Kensal Green station was discussed, including participants, their roles and details of which individual authorised this action.

3. The cost (including financial opportunity cost where officers would otherwise have been deployed elsewhere or else not on shift) of the exercise at Kensal Green on 30th July 2013.

4. The number and ethnicity of people (i) approached and (ii) questioned at Kensal Green on 30th July 2013 by police IC code.

5. The percentage of each IC code stopped who were found to be potentially in breach of immigration requirements.

6. Details of all previous exercises of this type carried out in 2013, including time, date, location, the number of people approached and questioned, and the number of people found to be of unclear immigration status as a consequence.

7. With regard to 6, the outcomes and / or progress made with their cases.

8. Any equality impact assessments relating to this activity in general, or the specific UKBA activity at Kensal Green station on 30th July 2013.

This request will be copied to Sarah Teather MP and Councillor Muhammed Butt.

For cost purposes, you may regard the above as separate requests.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Anders

With the statutory 20 days expiring the following response from Asia Choudhary of the 'Immigration Enforcement Team' at the Home Office has been posted:
We are considering your request. Although the Act carries a presumption in favour of disclosure, it provides exemptions which may be used to withhold information in specified circumstances. Some of these exemptions, referred to as ‘qualified exemptions’, are subject to a public interest test. This test is used to balance the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in favour of withholding the information. The Act allows us to exceed the 20 working day response target where we need to consider the public interest test fully.

The information which you have requested is being considered under the exemption in section 31of the Act, which relate to Law enforcement. This is a qualified exemption and to consider the public interest test fully we need to extend the 20 working day response period. We now aim to let you have a full response by 25 September.

If you have any questions about the handling of your information request then please do not hesitate to contact me. 
An identical letter was recently received by John Cox who made an FoI request about UKBA operations at Brent and Barnet stations.

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