Chris Packham submits FoI requests to Dorset Police & the Crime Commissioner about poisoned eagle

Last week I blogged about Dorset Police’s refusal to respond to my Freedom of Information request, where I’d asked for copies of all correspondence between the Police and Dorset Conservative MP Chris Loder in relation to the poisoned eagle found dead on a shooting estate in January (see here).

Dorset Police tried to fob me off with what I consider an explanation that lacked any credibility (see here). I have since appealed that refusal notice and have asked for a review. Dorset Police are obliged to respond within a certain time period and I await their answer.

I also submitted an identical FoI request to the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Conservative David Sidwick. That response is well overdue and I’ll be following that up again this week.

Meanwhile, this week my colleague Chris Packham has also submitted FoIs to both Dorset Police and the PCC. Chris has previously spoken out about Dorset Police’s decision to end their investigation which came shortly after Mr Loder’s Twitter outburst about how the police shouldn’t be using resources to investigate suspected wildlife crime.

Chris’s FoIs are similar to mine but are more targeted, identifying named police officers who are likely to have been involved in the decision-making process about terminating the investigation on the poisoned eagle.

Here is a redacted copy of Chris’s FoI request to Dorset Police:

Here is a redacted copy of Chris’s FoI request to the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Conservative David Sidwick:

UPDATE 25th May 2022: Dorset Police and the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner in breach of Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to Chris Packham’s request for info on poisoned eagle (here)

15 thoughts on “Chris Packham submits FoI requests to Dorset Police & the Crime Commissioner about poisoned eagle”

  1. If Dorset Police don’t respond to the foi. Can this become a legal issue through the courts.
    Surely if it’s not in interest of national security they can’t refuse. If an official complaint is made this will be investigated by another police force.

    1. There’s a formal process, John.

      The public authority has to respond within 20 working days (but it can extend this for a further 20 working days if there is good reason). If not happy with the response, the applicant can request an internal review where somebody else from the authority reviews the decision-making process. If the applicant is not happy with the review outcome, then a complaint can be made to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is an independent authority established to uphold information rights in the public interest.

    1. A big snag is that many public sector organisations never truly bought into the underlying principles of FoI (nor data protection, but that’s another set of stories) and their observation of it is tokenistic at best. Worse is the active evasion.

      My knowledge is mostly around NHS trusts, but I’d be surprised if similar things are not true in other organisations.

      From being a baby nurse it was hammered into us to record all care given, as that was your legal record and defence. However, it quickly becomes obvious that the opposite is true: if it isn’t recorded it didn’t happen. Pressure is applied not to document certain things; minutes are not kept of meetings; instructions from managers are not put in writing; documents disappear; report findings which are critical of management are never published and become impossible to find, as one never knows the exact title under which it was filed.

      I could go on, but I just want to highlight some of the cultural issues which exist and which enable certain organisations to obfuscate, time out requests, hide information, mislead and generally avoid scrutiny.

  2. I think it very interesting that today (Thursday April 21st) BBC South featured very prominently a high profile Dorset Police Force publicity push on “County Lines”, featuring the Chief Constable in interview and lots and lots of junior ranks in Hi-Vis outfits ‘raiding’ a (stage set?) house (I didn’t think it was a real crime scene, just a theatrical reenaction).

    I think the Dorset Police are rather worried…

  3. So Dorset police don’t want to let RP or CP see their correspondence with Loder of the odious views, I wonder why? I hope this is nowhere near the end of the matter. The whole thing stinks to high heaven of perfidy and corruption, as frankly I don’t believe any police force can be that stupid. An apparently staged drugs raid only adds to that feeling ( thanks Keith).
    If there is was nothing to hide all information would surely be quickly produced.

  4. I stupidly use to believe in the honesty and integrity of our Police forces. This smacks of a monumental cover up and Dorset Police should be ashamed.
    Remember who you use to represent.

  5. Talk about power-mad control feeks! in the light o climate change and mass extinction of all native wildlife, we are collectively supposed to be helping to preserve and reintroduce our wildlife not work together in public-funded closed ranks to hinder the work of preservation, what are these close-minded arrogant individuals afraid of? why can,t they see we need to share all the spaces we can with the natural world? so what if the raptures eat a lamb or two? that man deliberately breads to eat and shit, so they share one or two with wildlife as nature intended! so greedy and selfish is the misogynist man. no milk of human kindness here.

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