Robert Talalay and Alex Ustych appear in the FTT, successfully resisting an appeal against the application of the national security FOIA exemptions
Robert, acting for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (MPS), and Alex, acting for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire (PCCW), appeared in test appeals brought by Privacy International concerning information relating to IMSI catchers / Covert Communications Data Capture (CCDC) devices. The challenge brought was to the ambit of s.23 of FOIA and the application of s.24 and s.31 of FOIA, where the Information Commissioner had largely upheld the decisions of the forces – the MPS having neither confirmed nor denied whether it held the data requested and the PCCW refusing to disclose the content of a business case.
The judgment reaffirms the principles applicable to cases concerning requests for information about specific policing techniques (or the absence of an available technique). The FTT refused to reveal whether any data was held (in the case of the MPS) and the data requested (in the case of the PCCW) as to do so would reveal the operational capacity of the police, which would be contrary to the public interest.
These cases were test cases for appeals in respect of 7 additional police forces, which were stayed pending the conclusion of these proceedings.
Robert Talalay was instructed on behalf of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Alex Ustych was instructed on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire