Met’s Extraordinary RIPA FoI Refusal

A few weeks back, three members of the Guido team sent off Freedom of Information requests to the Met asking:

“Of the following phone numbers, which has had call data obtained by the Metropolitan Police using RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act)? [Each individual Guido phone number]”

Despite being sent just one batch of three FoIs, the Met have refused to answer our question on the grounds that it is apparently a “vexatious or repeated request”. In an extraordinary email, the Met complains it has received negative coverage in the press, claiming that “many [past RIPA] responses attracted negative articles in many national press publications”. Even more bizarrely, they then accuse Guido of colluding with Press Gazette to send the FoIs:

“Your request was received on 10/02/2015 at 13:16… These requests are linked to a previous vexatious notice, reference number 2015010000948, which was issued on 02/02/2015 and published in full on the following website:

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/vexatious-annoying-and-disruptive-press-gazette-barred-met-asking-more-ripa-questions

Based on the above I can therefore only assume that you are working collectively, using a mosaic approach to gather information.”

For the avoidance of doubt, Guido is not “working collectively” with Press Gazette on sending FoIs to the Met. This strange allegation by the Met is completely untrue. He sent just one batch of three requests, which in no reasonable terms can be described as vexatious or repeated. Guido will be complaining to the Information Commissioner about the Met’s refusal to disclose whether they obtained our call data…

You can read the Met response in full here.

UPDATE: Met Police spokesman: “I see your point.”


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