Disclosure Details

Information Commissioner's Office - 336/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:  02/04/2012

Date of response:   20/04/2012

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 April 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.

You asked:

  1. Number of times during past year the ICO have served information notices requiring Northumbria Police to provide the ICO with specified information within a certain time period?

  2. Number of times during past year the ICO have issued undertakings committing Northumbria Police to a particular course of action to improve its compliance?

  3. Number, if any, of enforcement notices served against Northumbria Police during past year where there has been a breach of the Act, requiring Northumbria Police to take (or refrain from taking) specified steps in order to ensure they comply with the law?

  4. Regards 3 above, reasons behind enforcement notices, if any, served on Northumbria Police by ICO during past year?

  5. Number of times, if any, during past year that the ICO have issued practice recommendations specifying steps that Northumbria Police should take to ensure conformity to the codes?

  6. Regards 5 above, please supply details and reason/s for all/any practice recommendations issued by ICO against Northumbria Police during the past year.

  7. Have Northumbria Police ever been investigated and or prosecuted by ICO concerning possible criminal offences under the Act, if so please supply full details.

  8. Number of times, if any, the ICO have reported Northumbria Police to Parliament on freedom of information issues of concern during the past 5 years, if any please supply full details.

  9. Number of times, if any, that ICO and or its staff have have had to issue verbal practice and or any other sort of recommendations to Northumbria Police relating to breaches by them of the FOIA and DPA during past year?

In response:

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 Disclosure Section of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Northumbria Police, however can not be disclosed for the following reason.

We are unable to supply the information requested.  To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at questions 1, 5 and 6 would entail a member of staff manually reviewing every request received during the past year under both the DPA and the FOIA, this amounts to a search of over 2,000 records.  Even at a conservative estimate of 4 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 400 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.

When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits.  However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill, 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.
 
2-3.  As the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

 I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

 Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

 Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

 This information is freely available via the ICO website.  In order to assist I  have provided the relevant links below:-

 http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/taking_action/dp_pecr.aspx#undertakings
 http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/taking_action/foi_eir.aspx

 This shows that no such undertakings or enforcement notices have been issued to Northumbria Police during the period specified.
 
4. N/A.
 
6. As per above.  However, I can advise that if recommendations are received, they are reviewed and implemented where appropriate.
 
7. No recorded information held.  This question should be directed to the ICO, as Northumbria Police may not be made aware of investigations carried out by the ICO.
 
8. No recorded information held.  Again, this question should be directed to the ICO.

9. No recorded information held.  If the ICO "had to issue" any recommendation, I assume this would be done in writing.  Please refer to our response to question 5 above.

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 under our 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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029