FOI 03102023-1 – Nick Adderley career history and references


I wish to be provided with records that determine exactly what evidence was presented to PFCC Stephen Mold by Nick Adderley either prior or during his interview for the post of Chief Constable to justify that Nick Adderley served within the Navy.

Specifically I wish to know what the date ranges Nick Adderley gave for when he joined the Navy and when he left the Navy, with any cross referencing of his age to query if the dates conflicted with his age.

I wish to know if what statements were made by Nick Adderley about his service and if he directly stated that he served in The Falklands War.

I finally wish to know what verification checks were conducted by the PFCC Stephen Mold or his staff to ascertain if the assertions made by Nick Adderley regarding his service in the Navy were accurate and what records of these checks were recorded, if no checks were recorded please confirm if this follows the standard scrutiny process.

If it determined that Nick Adderley lied during the interview process, please confirm if this has any bearing on his appointment and if any documented procedures surrounding misleading of interview panels exist and the consequences.


The Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) can neither confirm nor deny, that it holds the information you have requested. Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the OPFCC when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt within the provisions of the Act) is required to provide you, the applicant, with a Notice which:

(a) States the fact,

(b) Specifies the exemption in question, and

(c) States (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The exemptions applicable to your request are:

  • S30(3) Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public Authorities
  • S31(3) Law Enforcement
  • S40(5) Personal Information

Sections 31 is a qualified exemption and as such there is a requirement to articulate the harm and conduct a test of the public interest in confirmation or denial.

Section 30 is a class-based exemption and consideration must be given as to whether there is a public interest in neither confirming nor denying the information exists is the appropriate response.

Section 40 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case

Investigations – Section 30(3) of the Act provides:

The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).

Public Interest Test – Section 30(3) Investigations

Public interest considerations favouring confirming or denying whether the information is held.

Confirming on denying whether information exists would provide a greater transparency in the investigating process and the actions of a public authority. This fact alone may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist with investigations and promote public trust in providing transparency and demonstrating openness and accountability.

There is also substantial public interest in transparency related to this case, due to the officer being of the highest rank attainable and Senior officers would have a reasonable expectation that information is disclosed that is in the public interest.

Public interest considerations favouring neither confirming nor denying whether the information is held –

Under FOI there is a requirement to comply with s1(1)(a) and confirm what information is held. In some cases, it is that confirmation, or not, which could disclose facts which would undermine the investigative process and in such cases The Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) takes advantage of its ability under FOI legislation to, where appropriate, neither confirm nor deny that information is or is not held.

Irrespective of what information is or isn’t held, any information which could be used to undermine investigations, is not in the public interest.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) need to be allowed to carry out investigations effectively away from public scrutiny until such times as the details need to be made public, otherwise it will be difficult for accurate, thorough and objective investigations to be carried out.

Law Enforcement – Section 31(3) of the Act provides:

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, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).


Evidence of Harm

In considering whether or not the OPFCC can confirm (or deny) that this information is held, a harm test has been conducted.

The role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct is responsible for investigating the most serious matters within Policing. Confirming or denying whether any information is held could impact on the effectiveness of their investigations, thereby hindering the prevention and detection of serious allegations against police officers.

Should an officer who is currently being investigated either by way of misconduct investigation or potentially criminal proceedings, it could mean that in some cases formal charges may be made. However, we also need to consider that not all allegations are proven and may not lead to a formal charge.

Public Interest Test – Section 31(3)

Public interest considerations favouring confirming or denying whether the information is held –

This FOIA request relates to the involvement of the OPFCC in an IOPC investigation and there is likely to be public interest into the background and details relating to the matters that are now subject to investigation that have featured in the media. Therefore, this in itself favours confirming whether the information is held.

Public interest considerations favouring neither confirming nor denying whether the information is held-

To confirm or deny whether information is held or isn’t held would risk undermining the investigative process whilst determining whether any police officer is responsible for improper conduct; including whether or not an allegation of this nature leading to IOPC intervention was proportionate under the circumstances.

The IOPC need to be allowed to undertake their investigations effectively and efficiently and people also need to have the confidence to report any concerns they may have to the OPFCC in confidence.  It is important that any future investigations are not compromised by the confirmation or denial that information exists therefore it is unlikely to be in the interest of the public.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming, or denying, whether any information pertinent to this request exists. The OPFCC plays a central role in the recording and management of complaints against Northamptonshire Police and it is essential that individuals have the confidence that any complaints are treated seriously, efficiently and confidentially. The OPFCC will not divulge whether any information is or is not held if to do so would undermine the complaints process or any IOPC investigations. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency and standards of policing, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity the complaints process in this very sensitive area. Therefore, for these issues the balancing test for confirming or denying whether we hold any information is not made out.

Section 40(5) – Personal data

Consideration on applying this exemption is subject to whether the disclosure of any information would lead to identifying individuals and place information pertaining to them into the public domain. This constitutes personal data which would, if released, be in breach of the rights provided by the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations; namely the first data protection principle, which states that personal data will be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently. It is my view that the request runs counter to the three requirements prescribed by law and that there is no lawful basis to provide this information.

This is an absolute exemption and no public interest test is required.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that information does or does not exist.