RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST
West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 1st August 2023
Please find below a summary of our findings.
Please can you advise of the standby cover moves from January 2023 up until the point you answer the FOI or as late as possible
please can you arrange the data in this format
station needing cover / station sent to cover / what appliance was sent e.g BRV PRL HP and if you can advise what date/time/how long cover was needed that would be helpful.
As a major emergency service provider, you will appreciate that we must ensure that our standby cover is adequality protected. by releasing detailed information about our standby moves from January 2023 in response to your request and other similar requests under Freedom of Information has wider implications that we must consider. By this we mean that disclosing this information may prejudice our ability to maintain our own and national security. We believe that maintaining security and ensuring public safety in a national and local context takes precedence over this request.
We accept that this type of information is of interest to commercial companies and to researchers but believe that it is not in the greater public good to release detailed information.
We do not imply that release of this information alone would necessarily be immediately detrimental but taken with other information we consider that it could have an adverse effect on our capability, effectiveness and security. Given the current security climate in the UK we recognise the necessity to take a precautionary approach. In this situation we have also taken account of whether the release of this information, could, if put together with other available information, cause damage. After consideration we concluded that this type of information cannot be divorced from its context and looked at in isolation. In some circumstances, releasing this information could give rise to prejudice that would not otherwise have existed, because, taken together with other information requested, it could disclose a composite of information which is more sensitive than its individual parts taken separately.
We are therefore refusing your request under Freedom of Information exemptions, s24 National Security, s38 Health and Safety and s36 prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs.
In taking this decision we have taken note of the Centre for Protecting the National Infrastructure Guidance on disclosure of sensitive information, which states “…. that national security is paramount and should be considered carefully in any government or commercial decision to release or disseminate information to the public”.
This guidance continues to state that careful consideration must be given before disclosing ‘precise information which exposes an organisation’s information or process control systems to the threat of an attack’.
The above exemption is subject to the public interest test.
Section 36 of FOI is a qualified exemption and means that we must consider a public interest test. In this case the information in question will show movement of our assets show vulnerability security of our facilities.
This Information is exempt information if its disclosure under section 38 Freedom of Information Act 2000 would, or would be
like-ly to— (b)endanger the safety of any individual.
Section 24 National Security
By releasing movement of our assets may show vulnerabilities in our operational capabilities and therefore, we have to considered that it is in the interest of the majority of the public to protect our process control systems from potential harm, in order to support us to ensure public safety. We have also decided that the likelihood of damage to our systems need not be immediate as the impact would, in an emergency situation, be potentially serious.
We also considered whether release of this information is in the public interest in terms of explaining our decisions, ensuring accountability, or providing transparency into our handling of public finances. We have concluded that the detail of this information is not necessary to meet the public interest or reassure public concerns. As a result, we have decided that the public interest is better served by not disclosing this detailed information.
If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW
Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.