Tactical Options Reporting Data January-December 2018 follow-up questions
The request was successful.
From: Mark Hanna
On 4 December 2020, I received a response to my request of 1 October 2019 about Tactical Options Reporting data covering 2018 (your reference IR-01-20-34818). I have some follow-up questions about this response that I hope you can help me with.
1. Section 6(2)?
In its response, Police included this in the list of information that has been withheld:
“columns that include information that poses a risk to operational integrity and staff safety if it becomes public (section 6(2) of the Official Information Act 1982);”
There is no section 6(2) of the OIA, and I don’t believe section 6(b) is relevant to this information.
1a. Which withholding ground did Police mean to invoke here?
1b. Which columns were withheld for this reason?
2. Number of events with one injury?
The 2018 TOR summary report says there were 762 TOR events at which subjects sustained one injury, but the data released to me details 826 such events. The number of events involving 2 or 3 subject injuries are consistent between the summary report and the data.
Police’s response letter says the data “includes TORs which had completed the review process as of 16 May 2019, when data was extracted for the 2018 Annual Tactical Options Research Report”. The 2018 summary report says 148 reports had not completed the review process at that date.
Given the data released to me appears to have been the same data that was used to create the 2018 TOR summary report, I’m not sure where this discrepancy between the summary report and the data may have arisen.
2a. Were these additional 64 TOR events at which subjects sustained one injury excluded from the 2018 summary report?
2b. If they were excluded, why were they excluded?
3. Number of events withheld, and reason for them being withheld
The 2018 summary report says there were 4,546 TOR events in 2018 in total, and 4,398 TOR events that had completed the review process as of 16 May 2019. The data that has been released includes 4,324 events, which is 74 fewer than were included in the 2018 summary report and 222 fewer than were completed in 2018.
How many TOR events were removed from the data that has been released, and for what reasons have they been withheld? For example, being withheld under section 6(c) if they were the subject of an ongoing investigation at the time of the release.
4. Incidents withheld under section 6(c)
In its initial decision on my request, communicated on 9 December 2019, Police said:
“reports relating to ongoing internal and external investigations must be removed from the data pursuant to section 6(c) of the Act to ensure the maintenance of the law and right to a fair trial.”
However, in Police’s revised decision communicated on 4 December 2020, there is no mention of any TOR events being withheld under section 6(c).
4a. Has any information been withheld under section 6(c) of the OIA?
4b. If so, what specific information has been withheld (e.g. specific columns or a specific number of TOR events)?
5. Columns without a clear meaning
There are some columns in the data set which aren’t clear to me, based off the column titles and my understanding of TOR reporting and the context surrounding it. What information is recorded in these columns?
HC: Not reportable
HCwP&R Usage Count
For the charge columns, I can see the 1000 - 6000 and A-W Traffic columns summarise the content of the “Charge Categories” column, but I don’t understand what the values themselves mean and I haven’t been able to find any description anywhere of “charge categories” that matches these values. Is this a set of internal Police categories, similar to incident type codes?
In my initial request, I asked that Police “Please also explain any relevant caveats that should be kept in mind when analysing this information”, so I would have expected that this information would have been included in the scope of my request.
6. Potential data entry issues
In cleaning and analysing this data, I have found a few cells that contain confusing values. I’m hoping you might be able to shed light on these, or at least confirm for me whether or not they are data entry errors so I can decide if they should be excluded from my analysis.
6a. Several taser columns (e.g. those for the number of discharges with probes and contact stuns) contain cells with values of 0 and cells with values of '-'. Am I correct in assuming that cells with either of these values both represent the same thing?
6b. One cell in the “Firearm 1: Capable of Threat” column has the value "Immediate and sufficient", which looks like it belongs in one of the tactic effect columns and does not seem applicable here.
6c. One cell in the “Subject Injury 1: Site” column has a value of "Miss", which looks like it belongs in one of the body location columns and does not seem applicable here.
6d. The “Staff Injury By Subject: Behaviour” column has several values of "Threaten Police", "Physically assault non-police", and "Threaten non-police". It isn't clear to me how any of these could cause injuries to Police staff, but these values don't appear in any other columns in the dataset so they may have been entered as intended.
7. Ethnicity recoding
In previous datasets, raw data contained more values for ethnicity. For example, one value included previously was “Maori / European”.
Ethnicity is complex. When I had analysed previous datasets, based on advice I’d received, I treated that particular value as belonging to both “Māori” and “European” groups. There were also others ethnicities that I treated similarly, such as “Other - European/Pacific Islander” and “Other - Maori/Polynesian”.
In the 2018 data, these values representing multiple ethnicities do not appear. Rather, it appears the ethnicity values have already been recoded so that each person has only a single ethnicity. Both “Māori” and “European” do appear, for example, but not “Maori / European”.
Can you please explain to me exactly how ethnicity values were recoded from the raw data? Currently, I’m assuming that “Maori / European” has been recoded to “Māori”, for example. Is this correct?
8. Format difference
I had asked that the information be released “in the same format as was released for the July-December 2017 reporting period (ref IR-01-18-5190)”. When Police communicated its decision that it would release this information if I paid a charge of $836, there was no mention of any columns that had previously being released now being withheld or recoded.
I understand that some additional changes were made to protect privacy, with consultation with the Office of the Ombudsman. However, it’s not clear from Police’s response whether all changes between this data and that released for July-December 2017 were changed through this process, or if some changes were made for other reasons.
For example, the “District” and “Special Police Groups” columns that were released for the July-December 2017 data have been excluded from the 2018 data, but it is not immediately clear how withholding them would be justified under section 9(2)(a) of the OIA.
8a. Please provide a breakdown of columns that have been withheld entirely, and the grounds under which they have been withheld.
8b. If Police intend for any this information to have been withheld under grounds other than section 9(2)(a) of the OIA, then under section 19(a)(ii) of the OIA I ask that you please provide the grounds in support of these reasons.
From: Mark Hanna
On 18 January, I sent a number of questions about the Tactical Options Reporting data covering 2018 released last December. I had expected to receive a response by 16 February - Tuesday last week - but I haven't yet heard anything back about this request.
If Police has already sent a response, could you please resend it? If, instead, my original request did not arrive for some reason please let me know so I can resend it.
If my request was received as expected, and Police has not yet sent a response, please tell me the reason for the delay and why I haven't been told there was going to be a delay. For a request received on 18 January, there would have been a legal obligation to communicate a decision no later than 16 February, and even if there was not a lawful reason under section 15A(1) of the OIA to extend that deadline I would still expect to be informed of a delay.
New Zealand Police
Kia ora Mr Hanna
Thank you for your email following this up. I can confirm your response is
in the review stage. Please accept my apologies for the delay.
-----"Mark Hanna" <[FOI #14472 email]> wrote:
To: "OIA/LGOIMA requests at New Zealand Police"
<[New Zealand Police request email]>
From: "Mark Hanna" <[FOI #14472 email]>
Date: 25/02/2021 09:06AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Official Information request - Tactical Options
Reporting Data January-December 2018 follow-up questions
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On 18 January, I sent a number of questions about the Tactical Options
Reporting data covering 2018 released last December. I had expected to
receive a response by 16 February - Tuesday last week - but I haven't yet
heard anything back about this request.
If Police has already sent a response, could you please resend it? If,
instead, my original request did not arrive for some reason please let me
know so I can resend it.
If my request was received as expected, and Police has not yet sent a
response, please tell me the reason for the delay and why I haven't been
told there was going to be a delay. For a request received on 18 January,
there would have been a legal obligation to communicate a decision no
later than 16 February, and even if there was not a lawful reason under
section 15A(1) of the OIA to extend that deadline I would still expect to
be informed of a delay.
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #14472 email]
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From: Response & Operations
New Zealand Police
Dear Mark Hanna
I refer to your email of 25 February 2021.
Police have responded to your correspondence dated 18 January 2021 in a 25
February 2021 email sent to
Your 18 January 2021 correspondence was not processed as a separate
Official Information Act request, as it sought clarification on Police’s
existing Official Information Act response (IR-01-20-34818).
Information Management Coordinator: Response and Operations BCF703
* Police National Headquarters | PO Box 3017 | Wellington 6011| DX
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From: Mark Hanna
Thank you for the update. I've received the response now, and I really appreciate the thorough answers to all of my questions.