No names

In Wild v IC and Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary (EA/2010/0132) the Appellant was concerned as to whether the provisions of the Hunting Act 2004 were being complied with in the Isle of Wight and how these provisions were being enforced by the Hampshire Police.  She requested from the Chief Constable dates of pre-hunt meetings in last 5 years and names of officers attending pre-hunt meetings with Isle of Wight Hunt, such meetings being meetings between the organisers of hunts and the police officers responsible for supervising hunts (“Hunt Liaison Officers”).  The Police responded, providing dates, but refusing to disclose the names of the officers in attendance. 

The IC considered the application of S40(2) of FOIA to the case.  He concluded that the names of officers attending the meeting would be personal data and therefore in considering the potential disclosure it was necessary to consider whether it would be in accordance with the data protection principles embodied in the DPA.  He concluded that the disclosure would result in a breach of the first such principle that data should be processed fairly and lawfully.  He accepted that the disclosure may lead to the harassment of the officers identified and consequently the disclosure would be unfair to those officers. 

The Tribunal rejected the appeal and upheld the IC’s decision.  The IC had correctly struck the balance between the Appellant’s legitimate interest in disclosure and the prejudice to Hunt Liaison Officers disclosure of whose identity would put them at risk of harassment.

James Goudie QC