Friday, August 03, 2007

Drawing a Blank

I finally heard back from Kent Police today, in answer to my 'Freedom of Information' request.

To cut a long story short and having spoken with the managers of local off-licenses, I wanted to know how many people had been prosecuted for the onward sale of alcohol to under 18's.

Unfortunately, I'm told that "To locate this information would involve manually interrogatingmany files and the cost of doing so is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond"( Under the 2004 FOI regulations).

The Police can however tell me that three people in Thanet have been fined for the - over the counter sale - of alcohol to under 18's in the last two years but as they say, they don't have the records concerning onward sales and by implication, this suggests that it doesn't happen in the eyes of the law.

Anecdotally, of course it does happen and represents a significant local problem, yet there have been no prosecutions, ever, it appears. So when we see teenagers strolling around the streets, as I did this evening, clutching their cans of lager, remember, they only exist in the imagination.

This was of course my second attempt to squeeze some meaningful information from Kent Police under the Freedom of Information Act. You may recall that the first request, which involved asking for simply the number of registered sex offenders, living in Thanet, who might constitute a danger to children in the community, came up with: "We are unable to release this information in the event that it might lead to public disorder."

A comforting thought to end with!


Richard Card said...

Yes ... Kent Police.

I tried to obtain information of the Range Safety Certificate and the Extended Range Safety Area of the 6th Thanet Gun Range at Birchington.

The Home Office had written that I could obtain the information from Kent Police.

Kent Police refused to disclose it.

Thanet Council, after some years of effort, did provide a copy of the summary of the planning consents for the range, but claimed they hold no record pre 72.

I think the TDC claim is false as I understand there is an archive accessible near the Cecil Square Post Office area. (Little tip for you cllr if you encounter the claim that records no longer exist ?)

I have copies of three years of the range records. These record calibres in excess of the TDC planning consented .22.

The question is how did Kent Police for quarter of a century issue firearms certs against membership of that range, in excess of .22 ? On the face of it 25 years of unlawfully issued firearms certs.

Kent Police might squeal "Data Protection Act" or "Human Rights Legislation" to try to bluff you into believing they have grounds to with hold information.

I suspect, concerning firearms and range safety enforcement, that the Kent Police reason for refusing to divulge information is that Kent Police turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

When are we going to accept that Kent Constabulary is following its own agenda withour any local control despite the fact that as Council tax payers we not only fund it but also pay its huge pensions costs! It is time to accept that in 2007 we have a worse police force than in 1897. Kent policing in Thanet is derisory and when they rely on civilian employees in Maidstone who don't know where Birchington is then that sums it up for me. We need local policing back under local control.

Anonymous said...

Richard Card - what exactly is your beef with this range - which I must admit I had never heard of before.
Is this something which is actually of concern to a reasonable number of residents?
Has anyone been injured as a result of this range?

Anonymous said...

Tell you what. Lets get totally distracted by some petty local squabble and thereby avoid the issue of the post altogether!

Observer said...

Simon, you may want to try the local Trading Standards Office, it used to be in Hartsdown Road, as prosecutions for the sale of alcohol to under age persons is usually the result of a covert operation with them and Kent Police and think that they may be the prosecuting Authority.

Richard Card is of course one of Thanet's finest !!
who see's conspiricy theories everywhere,,

DrMoores said...

Thanks for that tip!
The problem that is occupying me at present is secondary sales of alcohol. i.e. someone buys it legally at the off-license and then sells it to the kids outside. It's a tangible and prosecutable problem, reported bythe licensees and yet doesn't appear to exist in the statistics!