Public Urination - 855/12
Dated: 30 Jul 2015
Date of request: 02/11/2012
Date of response: 13/11/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 2 November 2012 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
Could you please supply me with the total number of people charged for public urination in Newcastle City Centre over the past three years. If you could break it down into the total number of those charged for public urination in 2010, 2011 and 2012 that would be great. If you could also include the total amount of fines issued in each of these years for the offence in question.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Criminal Justice Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however can not be disclosed for the following reasons.
The Home Office code relating to this offence is a "byelaw offence" which also encompasses other offences other than urinating in a public place, for example "take dog into Eldon Square", "behaving in a disorderly way" and "littering" would also fall under the same Home Office code.
For the time period specified by you searches were conducted and revealed that there are in excess of 1,850 individuals committing offences under this byelaw in Newcastle City Centre. To establish which specifically related to 'urination' would involve a member of staff viewing each such report, with further research being carried out to then establish the amount of fines issued for each year. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and collate this information would take over 92 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.
Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill outside of the Act I have supplied information below, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.
I can advise that two individuals have been charged with the offence of urinating in a public place in Newcastle City Centre for the time specified. Both of which were 'absolutely discharged' by the Courts.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the crime data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.
Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the public interest. The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester. I have provided the relevant link below:-
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us underour complaints procedure which can be found at:http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.