I really don’t know what to say about this! The public, in my view, are now at risk from those paid to serve and protect them!
I spend many months trying to find out who the public servants were that Shropshire Council sent (at the public’s expense) to assist in the raid on Anne & Hollie’s home. I also asked for the chain of command details.
Initially, I was refused the information outright from the Council (seems to be the Council’s default position in anything to do with Hollie’s case). I appealed and they stood their ground. I then reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office, who managed to get the line-manager’s name released. Interestingly, on releasing the line-manager’s name, the Council said that the line-manager knew NOTHING about the event. This has very serious consequences for the Council’s ‘public liability insurance’ and standard operating protocols as due process was not being followed for the raid on Anne & Hollie’s home… but that’s something for their staff to raise with their senior management – as it is the senior management who are placing their lower ranked staff at risk. Add to that, the question: ‘what is the point in having someone (paid by the public) as a line-manager when they are not aware of what is going on in their own department, where their staff are or even if their staff will be returning safely to the office’. Can you imagine calling your local Council and asking for a member of staff, only to be told by their line-manager, “I’m sorry, but I have no idea where my staff are, what they are doing or even if they will ever return safely to the office. Can I take a message in the event that they may, someday, return?”
Whilst the Information Commissioner’s Office agreed with the Council that the lower ranked staff should have their identity protected from the public but the line-manager should have their details made known, I feel that it if line-manager knew nothing of the event related to the raid on Anne & Hollie’s home, I should not disclose the name of that individual now… as it is not the aim of this ‘campaign for justice’ to attack or discredit genuinely innocent people!
As I had failed to get the ICO to achieve the result I was after (obtaining the details of the Council officials who attended Anne & Hollie’s home so that they could be approached formally for an account of what they knew and did leading up to the day, on the day and after) I appealed their decision and a Judicial review was held. This is why I was not able to go public until now, it had become a legal matter and a Judge was to rule on it. So, to ensure I did not pervert the course of justice, I had to keep quiet.
On Thursday 6th September 2012, I received the ruling… my appeal was dismissed, meaning I failed to obtain the public servant’s details.
The judge agreed with the Council and the ICO that, in effect, if lower ranked member of the public services are used by much higher ranked public officers, bypassing the line-managers and those lower ranked staff subsequently become involved in criminal activity during the course of their public duties, the Data Protection Act 1998 can be used to hide their personal details – effectively making them immune from prosecution due to the identity of the alleged perpetrators of those crimes not being known.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the implications for this ruling are monumental!!! It means that the public can now be targeted (at the public’s cost) by anyone in local Government and there is NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!
I have attached the ruling for your information. The ruling is now on their website so you are free to publish it as well. I have also copied this to the UK Column as I’m sure they will find it interesting reading in respect of people’s rights in the UK.