FoI victory for Hamilton newspaper

A FREEDOM of Information contest between  one of Scotland’s best-known local newspapers and the police has resulted in victory for the newspaper.

The Hamilton Advertiser has won a year-long fight with Strathclyde Police over information concerning sex offenders in the region it serves.

As reported in the paper, a request, under FOI – asking how many people with Lanarkshire addresses were on the Sex Offenders’ Register – was turned down by the police in September last year.

It continues: “An appeal lodged with Scotland’s FOI commissioner, Kevin Dunion, was upheld last week, ordering Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, William Rae, to release the information within 45 days.”

Said Advertiser editor, Joe Kelly: “Our aim, in obtaining accurate figures for the numbers of sex offenders in Lanarkshire, was to contribute towards a better informed debate. We were seeking only general figures for the county, and not detailed information which might identify individuals and could have been used irresponsibly.”

The paper adds that Mr Dunion did not believe the information requested was detailed enough to breach the confidence of sex offenders.