After a long delay and several reminder emails, I’ve finally received a response to my Freedom of Information request from the office of the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC), David Sidwick.
If you recall, in early March I’d asked for copies of all correspondence between the PCC and Chris Loder MP in relation to the (mis)handling of the police investigation into the poisoned white-tailed eagle found dead on a shooting estate in North Dorset in January 2022.
I was interested in finding out whether Chris Loder MP had interfered with / influenced Dorset Police’s decision to pull the plug on the investigation before a search had even taken place, given his outspoken objections to the investigation when it was still active.
You may also recall I’d asked for the same information in another Freedom of Information request to Dorset Police, which they have refused to answer. Their explanation for this refusal had zero credibility so I’ve asked for a formal review of their decision – I’m awaiting a response to that request.
The FoI response to me from the PCC’s office is here:
So there was correspondence between the two ‘good chums‘, as expected, and you can see Chris Loder’s exasperation at not receiving information to which he appeared to feel entitled.
I note with interest David Sidwick’s assurance to Chris Loder that he will receive ” a full briefing” after the investigation has closed. Given that Dorset Police closed the investigation (prematurely) on 29th March, exactly one month ago, I wonder whether that briefing to Chris Loder has now been provided? This was beyond the dates/scope of my original FoI request but it will be covered by Chris Packham’s later FoI request so I look forward to seeing what that briefing says.
Meanwhile, back to the FoI response sent to me from the PCC’s office, above. The eagle-eyed amongst you might have picked up that there appears to be some correspondence ‘missing’ from the bundle I’ve been sent:
That very first email from David Sidwick to Chris Loder (dated 15th February) appears to be a response to correspondence from Loder (Sidwick’s opening words are, ‘As requested…’) but Loder’s ‘request’ has not been provided in full in my FoI bundle. There are parts of Loder’s request incorporated in Sidwick’s reply, but the original, full email from Loder is missing.
In the same email, Sidwick also includes a line that appears to be taken from Loder’s (missing) email:
Presumably from Loder: “Could you also help with the earlier question about the name of the rural crime team? Rural Crime Team / Rural Crime Wildlife & Heritage Team“
Response from Sidwick: “RCT is the form preferred and the long version will be dropped“.
Nowhere in this bundle is there a copy of the “earlier question” from Loder to Sidwick about the rebranding of the Rural Crime Team.
I have written back to the PCC’s office and asked them to check for these missing pieces of correspondence.