The Cost of Supplying Armed UK Police at the American Embassy

So, it turns out that my What Do They Know Freedom of Information Request asking The Cost of Supplying Armed UK Police at the American Embassy to the Home Office has been refused.

As you will see from the response today, The Home Office have stated that to tell us (The Public) how much of our money it spends protecting the American Embassy (who I might add have their own Armed Contractors / Security / Police onsite also) would serve to reveal how much protection is in place.

With regards to your questions, we confirm we hold the information requested. However, after careful consideration we have decided that the information is exempt from disclosure by virtue of section 24(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. This exempts us from our duty to release the information where to do so could prejudice national security, and the public interest falls in favour of applying the exemptions. This test is explained fully in the annex of this letter.

Furthermore, we neither confirm nor deny we hold any further information under section 23(5) (information supplied by or relating to the security services). Section 23 is an absolute exemption and does not require the consideration of the public interest.

The response goes onto state:

However, the Home Office believes these arguments are outweighed by the general arguments for applying the Section 24 (2) in response to any questions about the protection of individuals and institutions. The justification is that the purpose of providing police protection is to protect life. Releasing the cost of supplying armed (UK) police services at the American Embassy could allow individuals to deduce the type of protection in place. It is long established policy not to comment upon any matters of personal protective security. Disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of a wide range of persons.

However, this is rediculous, which has ended up in an expansion of my original request, which I am sure will not fall foul of Section 24 or 23. – How much of the bill do the Americans foot.  However, I am sure they foot a grand total of £0. – We’ll wait and see.

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