Disclosure Details

Mobile phones - 172/17

Dated: 22 Feb 2017

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

Thank you for your e mail dated 15 February 2017 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.

You asked:

For the years 2013,2014,2015 & 2016 separately:

1. the total number of motorists caught for illegally using as mobile phone?

2. how many of these motorists were given a fine?

3. how many took the option of a driver awareness course?

4. how much revenue was generated via driver awareness courses?


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 for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable format. In the time period requested there have been in excess of 4280 offences process by the FPU for mobile phone use,  either a Fixed Penalty Notice has been issued or a report submitted detailing a mobile phone offence and submitted to the FPU for process.

Each of these would need a manual review to establish a response to points 2 - 4 of your request.  Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to extract a response at this point would take over 140 hours.  Additionally a driver awareness course is offered for more than use of mobile phone.  There were over 600 courses completed in 2016 alone.  To establish which related to the use of a mobile phone in its own right would far exceed the 18 hours. You should also note  that  any monies received from speed awareness courses, is not actually revenue but a cost recovery fee which replenishes the forces budget for processing costs.

As we have estimated this request would far exceed the permitted 18 hours,Section 12(1) 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.

You should note that those figures are just those dealt with by the Fixed Penalty Unit.  There will be more instances where an automatic summons by an officer may have been raised, which would increase the time further.

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.