Merseyside Police redact dog names from invoices claiming the names are “personal information”
By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
First publication date: 12th January 2021, 15:57 (GMT)
In November 2012, when police and crime commissioners were introduced, a new requirement was placed on certain police forces in England to publish information on payments over £500 (including the recipients of such payments).
This information is published on the website of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside.
Taking September 2020 as an example out of 1,128 payments made that month over £500, the supplier name was redacted for 82 of the payments (roughly 1 in 14 payments).
During the public inspection periods for the 2019-20 and 2018-19 years, I requested copies of specific invoices where Merseyside Police had paid for the kennelling and care of dogs (it is not known whether these invoices are for police dogs or dogs seized by Merseyside Police) which can be viewed below this piece.
The supplier names and details have been redacted from each invoice and were also redacted in the published list of payments over £500.
As detailed in the covering letter from September 2020 (see below) from Merseyside Police’s Director of Resources Keith Dickinson there are only two reasons which are specified in the legislation for redacting information from such a request which are commercial confidentiality (subject to a public interest test) and personal information.
In the legislation “personal information” is defined as:
“(7) Information is personal information if it identifies a particular individual or enables a particular individual to be identified (but see subsection (8)) and
(8) Information is not personal information merely because it relates to a business carried on by an individual as a sole trader”
Clearly individual means a person!
Yet for all of the 22 invoices below Merseyside Police redacted the names of dogs from the invoices!
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