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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Correspondence with Police Scotland regarding Vulnerable Persons Database: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02597
Date received: 31 October 2017
Date responded: 12 January 2018

Information requested

All information contained within correspondence between Scottish Government and Police Scotland and/or legacy forces with regard to the interim Vulnerable Persons Database/Vulnerable Persons Database.

Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested in Annex A.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections: s.25(1) – Information already otherwise accessible, s.27(2) - Information intended for future publication, s.38(1)(b) – personal information of a third party, s.29(1)(b) - Formulation of Scottish Administration policy etc or s.36(2) – Confidentiality of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

Exemptions apply Annex A, pages 1-68:

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

Some information relevant to your request is contained in Police Scotland's response to the Scottish Government's consultation on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility, which can be viewed at the following link:

Consultation on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

Also, each year Police Scotland provide data sourced from the Vulnerable Persons Database (VPD) to Scottish Government statisticians, so that they can produce the annual Official Statistics on Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland. Statisticians have regular and ongoing correspondence with Police Scotland - including receipt of this data and discussions as part of the quality assurance process (in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics):

Code of Practice

The domestic abuse data and associated commentary regarding its background, characteristics and quality is available in the Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland Official Statistics series, which is available at:

Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

Annex A, pages 69-89 – Correspondence between Scottish Government Statisticians and Police Scotland:

Scottish Government statisticians are currently researching the possibility of replacing the Racist Incidents Recorded by the police in Scotland Official Statistics publication with a new and broader statistical product on police recorded hate incidents. We are working with Police Scotland as they develop the hate incidents data they hold on their existing systems, namely the VPD. This has led to various correspondence between statisticians and Police Scotland.

Police Scotland confirmed to statisticians on 6th May 2015 that the VPD has been set up to record all incidents, people and crimes that are perceived to have a 'hate' element and that this process is functioning well. They also confirmed that all hate related incidents (including those related to race) are being recorded on the VPD.

A copy of all subsequent correspondence between Police Scotland and Scottish Government statisticians is provided in Document 12 of this release. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, some correspondence has been omitted or partially redacted as at least one of the following sections of the FOISA applies to that information:

s.27(2): Information intended for future publication

Information is exempted if it relates to a programme of research and disclosure of the information before the date of publication would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially this research. Some information has therefore been partially redacted in the correspondence below. We have considered whether the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption and have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.

s.29(1)(b): Formulation of Scottish Administration policy etc.

One piece of correspondence is exempt as the information relates to Ministerial communications. We have considered whether the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption and have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.

s.36(2): Confidentiality

The above exemption applies to one piece of correspondence between Scottish Government statisticians and Police Scotland. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

s.38(1)(b): Personal Information of a third party Information is exempt if it relates to personal data or information which would make it possible to identify individuals. Disclosure of this information would be in contravention of data protection principles. Some correspondence has therefore been exempted as it relates to the sharing of data related to hate incidents. Also, as with the other documents in this release, the information which has been included has been partially redacted to remove the names and contacts details of officials. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

FOI-18-02597-Annex A-VPD information.pdf

89 page PDF
1.3MB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
15 Jan 2018
Correspondence with Police Scotland regarding Vulnerable Persons Database: FOI release