Middle lane hogging - 471/16
Dated: 22 Apr 2016
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your e mail dated 11 April 2016 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 at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
I would like the following information:
A list of all occasions where drivers have been fined for middle-lane hogging since the law's introduction.
In each case I would like to know the date and location of the incident as well as the value of the fine.
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 Fixed Penalty Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed as the information you have requested is not held in a format that can be retrieved within the time limits of the Act.
'Middle lane hogging' would be encompassed within the offence of careless driving.
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually reviewing our recording system to establish the ticket number for each careless driving offence for the period you specified, then locating the fixed penalty ticket and reviewing each individual fixed penalty to establish which, if any, were for 'middle lane hogging'. The date and location of the offence would also need to be noted of any identified instances. We have estimated that it would not be possible to extract this information within the time constraints if the Act, 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 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
Between August 2013 and April 2016, 350 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for careless driving, with the value of the fine being £100.00.
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 data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
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.
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.