Disclosure Details

Drink Driving - 772/12

Dated: 18 Oct 2012

Date of request:   04/10/2012

Date of response:   15/10/2012

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 4 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.

You asked: 

  1. The three dates of the year that most people were caught for drink driving in 2011 and 2010, and the number of incidents recorded on that date (e.g. 23rd December 2011 – 39 recorded) in your force area;

  2. The time (rounded to the closest hour) that most people were caught for drink driving so far in 2012, in 2011 and 2010 in your force area;

  3. The total number of people caught drink driving so far in 2012, 2011 and 2010, split by gender in your force area;

  4. The number of people caught drink driving by month, so far in 2012, 2011 and in 2010 in your force area;

  5. The average score per test (breath, blood and urine) recorded so far in 2012, 2011, and 2010 in your force area;

  6. The highest score per test (breath, blood and urine) recorded so far in 2012, 2011, and 2010 in your force area;

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 Criminal Justice Department 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 reasons.

The information you have requested is not held in an easily retrievable format, particularly with regard to points 2, 5 and 6.  I have set out the specific reasons for each below.

With regards to point 2:-
This would entail scrutinising records and extracting data from one electronic system and transferring to another where calculations can be made.  However these systems are not compatible and figures will be required to be manually manipulated to enable the information relevant to this part of your request to be calculated and extracted.  This would be extremely time consuming and, combined with questions 1, 3 and 4 alone would exceed the prescribed time limit under the Act.

With regards to points 5 and 6:-
Such data is not recorded for any statistical reasons, therefore we do not hold information on any 'averages' or the highest score of any breath, blood or urine tests.  To extract any information to respond to this part of your request would entail paper based copies of readings being located and collated and then, in relation to question 5 the 'average' readings being calculated.
Up to September 2012 alone there were in excess of 800 individuals arrested for drink driving.  Even at a conservative estimate of 10 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and collate this information would take over 130 hours for this period alone, 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 those parts of your request.

As parts of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request.  As parts 5 and 6 in their own right and part 2, combined with questions 1, 3 and 4 would exceed the prescribed time limit for the reasons outlined above.  In order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be the remaining questions, ie questions 1, 3 and 4 as outlined above only.

If that would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.

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 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.


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