TfL ‘assisting police with their enquiries’ and hiding behind their lawyers on Kings Cross corporate manslaughter issues

It’s taken TfL 9 months to decide to hide behind their lawyers in responding to my request for information they hold on corporate manslaughter issues in Kings Cross. But say TfL:

‘the police investigation into the Kings Cross incident you refer to is still ongoing and we continue to assist the police with their enquiries.’

It’s great to see as we have revealed here before that the police aren’t prepared to white wash TfL and are continuing in their work given that the Mayor in in charge of TfL and the Police. The police have taken a year so far to look at the complex issues.

TfL have released a number of documents that mainly record the (quite normal) fluster in the press office as they try to find a line to take. What I find striking in the exchange is it reveals that there is no urgent action contemplated to examine whether there is a problem. the overall tone is:

‘Someone’s dead , they are blaming us, we need a line to take’.

Not:

‘Oh heavens, is there really a problem at Kings Cross, let’s close the junction down, restrict the flow until we are certain that it’s safe.’

It’s precisely this lackadaisical approach that prompted me to call for corporate manslaughter charges.

I had thought that all our local representatives were of one mind on the disastrous performance of TfL in the Kings Cross area (as regular readers will know we strive to be non-partisan here). So I was quite surprised to see the extent of special pleading that Cllr Vincent [ref. amended here – WP] put in on their behalf, revealed in this document TfL released.

It’s probably no coincidence that this request is finally dealt with when Isabel Dedring the official in charge is appearing at a local public meeting on transport issues. But of course it isn’t complete:

TfL is not obliged to supply some of the information held as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information, under Section 42(1) of the FOI Act. In this instance Section 42(1) has been applied as the information you have requested is covered by legal professional privilege

This isn’t an absolute opt out, TfL has to make a balanced decision.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned.

There is huge public interest in TfL’s internal discussions with their legal advisors about whether they have any liability for corporate manslaughter. There is no bigger public interest than understanding how they manage death and safety of life in their transport systems. So far TfL asserts that there is a bigger public interest in them keeping this secret. So I shall appeal this to the Information Commissioner.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online, trustee. The Indigo Trust.
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