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Breastfeeding etc (Scotland) Act 2005 (R009200)

Freedom of Information: Breastfeeding etc (Scotland) Act 2005 (R009200)

Thank you for your e-mail of 5 December 2014 to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) FOI Enquiries mailbox. Your request has been dealt with as a request for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). In particular, you have requested the following information:

  1. Please provide a breakdown of reports to fiscals for alleged offences under
    the Breastfeeding etc (Scotland) Act 2005 for the past five years (up to
    and including 2013/14), broken down first by year, and then by police/
    prosecution division., with the outcomes of the cases.

In response to this request you were provided with publicly available responses to Parliamentary Questions by COPFS Media Relations Unit. In particular, you were provided with the following information, which partially answers your question 1, above:

One case has been reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service since the commencement of the Act which was in 2009. I refer the member to the answer to S4W-22628 on 21 October 2014 – a company as employer was issued with a warning letter for one offence under section 1.”

Having received this response you amended your request under FOISA as follows:

  1. The PQ response satisfies the FoI in part (ie - there has only been one report to the fiscal since the commencement of the Act, and a warning letter was issued). I'd also asked for "broken down first by year, and then by police/prosecution division". Clearly I'd been expecting there to be more cases. But if you could help by providing the police/prosecution division and the year of the incident that would satisfy the request. Ideally, I'd like to find out more about thisn single incident (over and above the request), but I'm not sure how much information can be released.

I can advise that the case was reported in 2009 to Glasgow Procurator Fiscal’s Office by Strathclyde Police.

COPFS holds a police report in relation to the case, however while we endeavour to provide information where possible, Section 34(1)(a) and (b) of FOISA applies to police reports:

34 Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations

(1)Information is exempt information if it has at any time been held by a Scottish public authority for the purposes of—

(a)an investigation which the authority has a duty to conduct to ascertain whether a person—

(i)should be prosecuted for an offence; or

(ii)prosecuted for an offence is guilty of it;

(b)an investigation, conducted by the authority, which in the circumstances may lead to a decision by the authority to make a report to the procurator fiscal to enable it to be determined whether criminal proceedings should be instituted; or

(c)criminal proceedings instituted in consequence of a report made by the authority to the procurator fiscal.

This exemption is non-absolute and I have therefore considered whether the public interest nonetheless favours disclosure of the information.  There is a strong public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of information and the courts have traditionally placed great emphasis on assertions on confidentiality in relation to information submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.  This ensures that the agencies responsible for the investigation of alleged crimes or the investigation of a cause of death can report to the Procurator Fiscal in a manner which is free and frank.