12th August 2016
We lodged the following FOI request on 2nd August 2016:
The police say they are not obliged to supply most of the information and have responded with exemptions under Section 30 (Criminal investigations and proceedings) and Section 21 (Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means).
Here’s the lowdown on these two exemptions from the regulator, the Information Commissioner:
Here is a link to Merseyside Police’s detailed response:
The only point they’ve addressed is the first one, answering ‘yes’ – they did visit Sherlock House, the site of the criminal damage incident.
We’re left none the wiser on everything else and it is necessary to ask the police to internally review their response. Apologies to any reader who thinks we’re wasting public money by labouring the point, but at least 12 large circulation newspapers have been laced with foreseeable and avoidable inaccuracies since the original stories were published on 12th July and there seems to be no desire on the part of these newspapers to acknowledge the printing of falsehoods, to retract or to apologise.
The risk is that this false information – which links Corbyn supporters to the incident – will have unfairly influenced the minds of members of the public, some of whom will get a chance to cast their vote in the forthcoming Labour Party Leadership Ballot.
Given today’s Appeal Court decision, where 100,000 plus new Labour members will after all be prevented from voting, it’s possible that this false information – which needs publicly retracting – could swing the minds of enough voters and persuade them to crown Owen Smith – Angela Eagle’s successor – as the new leader, which will have been foreseeable, avoidable and be simply outrageous.
In support of their choice of Section 21 as an exemption, the police have pointed me to Viscount Rothermere’s The Daily Mail for the information. For now at least, I reserve comment on this.
We still don’t know whether a brick was thrown and whether the police acknowledge that Angela Eagle’s office window was not broken, although they appear to have told Peter Hitchens that this was the case according to his recent article in the Mail on Sunday.