Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 17 July 2008

Police hypocrisy over disclosure of information

The police often tell us, when the subject of ID Cards comes up, and the centralised database apparently necessary to make the system viable, that "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

Now we see clearly the hypocrisy of the police when it comes to the police themselves being required to reveal operational information, by no less a person than the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The case involves Northern Constabulary, the force responsible for policing my part of Scotland and relates to the death of a man in Wick in February 1997. His body was found in the harbour and the police stated that his death was accidental. The family did and do not accept this conclusion. A review of the police investigation conducted by Central Scotland Police Chief Constable Andrew Cameron, published in February 2007, criticised some procedures followed by Northern Constabulary; only parts of the report were published, however, with sensitive parts being 'blanked out' at the request of Northern Constabulary.

Now the Scottish Information Commissioner has ruled that Northern Constabulary must reveal the names of officers based in Wick at the time and the force is appealing against this decision on what seem to me to be the most far-fetched, wrong-headed and vexatious grounds:

"The appeal is based on the grounds of the law, in relation to the disclosure of personal data, covered by the Data Protection Act 1988 and requests that the decision should accordingly be quashed."

How can it be in conravention of the Data Protection Act to reveal information about who was on duty? The strong suspicion must be be that the police do have something to hide.

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