28 April 2015 – 04.2015-16 – Freedom of information request – Ongoing civil claim
Re – ongoing civil claim
- Who are the nine claimants?
- Am I to understand from your (Julia Mulligan) comment, that, you have only taken this legal action because of the £400,000 already invested in the investigation, leading to this legal action, and that you would not have taken this action, had this money not already been spent?
- What has this money been spent on exactly?
- Can you please tell me how it is that you (Julia Mulligan) did not seem to be aware that this extraordinary sum of money, £400,000, was being spent, on this project?
- Can you please tell me who monitors the expenditure of North Yorkshire Police Authority?
- Can you also please tell me who authorised the instigation of these legal proceedings?
- You claim that this harassment has been conducted over many years, can you tell me exactly, how many years please?
- What steps are being taken to retrieve the money which was paid to Maxwell and Briggs from CPOSA, please?
Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information
To locate the information relevant to your request, searches were conducted within the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and I can confirm that some of the information you have requested is held. I have explained further in more detail below.
As it is already in the public domain that a civil case is ongoing, I am able to provide you with some of the information requested. Please see the responses below for further details.
I am exempt from providing you with this information as it is the personal data of third parties. Please see the exemption section below for further details.
In relation to this matter, you should note that both the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire Police considered the situation very carefully before making the decision to initiate civil proceedings.
Dealing with the actions of those involved in the civil case has tied up police resources to a significant extent, and it seemed reasonable to expect that further time and expense would be incurred if no action were taken.
The civil action is therefore an attempt to bring this situation to an end, in the best interest of the public purse.
As at 16 March 2015 the cost breakdown was as outlined below, but you should note an important caveat. The figure was arrived at following a manual estimate by the departments involved. This is the best estimate of costs that can be provided, and is the recorded information held in answer to your query.
- Police officer time from December 2011 to September 2014; 94.6 months – £386,347
- Legal services work from October 2010 to June 2014; 243.1 hours – £7,424.73
- Civil disclosure work from September 2011 to October 2014; 352 hours – £5,181.44
- Related complaints matters; 82 hours – £1,708.88
- Chief Officer time; 259.08 – £9,308.85
There is no specific recorded information held of the type your request envisages. I can provide you with some information to assist you outside of the FOI Act, however.
The allegation that the Commissioner was unaware about the resources being expended on these individuals is refuted. It is part of the Commissioner’s role to represent the public interest on the matter of value for money and she has done so in this case.
It is incorrect to say that £400k is being spent on this project. £400k is how much it has cost North Yorkshire Police to deal with the activities of those against whom we seek the civil claim. Prior to the decision being taken to pursue civil proceedings, relevant departments were requested to provide a manual estimate of how much time had been spent dealing with the individuals. The breakdown provided refers to the cost of personnel time in various departments that dealt with the individuals in the civil claim, as opposed to specific items of expenditure.
The cost of pursuing the civil case is considerably lower than £400k, which supports the Commissioner’s view that the action would be in the best interests of the public purse.
The Police Authority was abolished in November 2012 when the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire was elected. The Chief Constable’s Chief Finance Officer and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer are responsible for monitoring the expenditure of the force and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner respectively, subject to oversight and scrutiny by the Police and Crime Panel.
The use of North Yorkshire Police funds for the civil claim was authorised by the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Constable’s Chief Finance Officer and the Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer.
The recorded information held shows the first instance of harassment against a Claimant in the civil case was in 2008.
There is no specific recorded information held in response to this request. To assist you in respect of this matter, outside of the Act, you may wish to consider the two published decision notices on the Commissioner’s website that contain details about the recovery of money in the case you refer to. You can access the two decision notices via the following links:
- 081/2013: Review of Chief Police Officer Remuneration Terms and Conditions
- 086/2013: Review of Chief Police Officer Remuneration Terms and Conditions
Section 17 of the Act requires North Yorkshire Police, when refusing to confirm or deny that information is held by the force, to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies. This letter acts as such a notice. The exemptions are explained below.
Question 4 – S40 Personal Information
I am exempting the information you have requested in question 1 pursuant to Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).
The information you are requesting is the personal data of third parties and it would not be fair or lawful in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) to release this information in response to a Freedom of Information request. This would be a disclosure to the world of private information relating to third parties and would breach the principles of the DPA. This exemption is absolute and I am not required to evidence the harm or consider the public interest when applying this exemption.