Police Dogs - 813/12
Dated: 06 Nov 2012
Date of request: 18/10/2012
Date of response: 30/10/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 18 October 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.
The number of injuries/deaths to police dogs for the years 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12
If these injuries were sustained on duty (if known)
Details of what the injury was along with details of how the injuries/death were sustained. Please could you go into as much detail as possible about the incidents.
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 Operations 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.
This information is not collated statistically and is not held in an easily retrievable format to allow us to do so for the sake of such requests. To establish information that meets the criteria of you query would involve a member of staff scrutinising both computer and paper based records for over 200 dogs for the period specified. This would be to establish which dogs had been injured and which of those injuries were sustained on duty, as we do not diferentiate between injuries whilst working and when not. The dog handler at the time would need to be contacted to establish if they recorded the circumstances of the incident in which the injuries occcured. This could be problematic as the dog handler at the time of such an incident may now be retired and the informtion may not be held in any recorded form.
Even at a conservative estimate of 20 minutes per dog we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 66 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.
I can advise you,outside of the Act, that information has been released in response to a previous FOI request regarding police dogs put down in the past 5 years which may be of interest to you.
This information is already published and freely available via the Disclosure Log, the link to which is given below. FOI 421/12 refers.
Information regarding the death in service of a police dog has also been published previously and is therefore in the public domain and can be found by doing simple searches on our website.
I can advise that this is the only death on duty of a police dog in the period specified by you.
I have provided the link to the website 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 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.