FOI 18-23: MLA Special Security Arrangements

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FOI 18-23

 26 July 2023

 Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”)

 I am writing to confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) has processed your request dated 19 June 2022 in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). In your request, you asked:

“I'm looking to see if the NI Assembly and/or DoJ is aware of MLAs who have special security arrangements in place.

If so, how many MLAs have special security arrangements in place?

If special security arrangements are in place, what does that entail?

Are any MLAs permitted to carry a personal protective weapon, either at home and/or in public and/or at Stormont? If so, how many?”

 In this instance the Assembly Commission invokes its rights under s38(2) of the FOIA, whereby it does not have a duty to confirm or deny documents held, to the extent that disclosure of the information sought would be likely to endanger the health and safety of individuals to whom the information relates.

S38 Health and safety.

(1)  Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to—

(a)endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or

(b)endanger the safety of any individual.

(2)  The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, have either of the effects mentioned in subsection (1).

The Assembly Commission works closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to ensure adequate arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of those working in and visiting Parliament Buildings.

You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address. If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF which will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and its official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.

Yours sincerely

Data Protection and Governance Officer

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