Seatbelts - 626/14
Dated: 12 Aug 2014
Date of request: 04/08/14
Date of response: 12/08/14
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 August 2014 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.
1. The number of drivers issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for not wearing a seatbelt in the following years, split by year: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (so far);
2. The gender and age of those issued a FPN for not wearing a seatbelt in the following years, split by year: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (so far);
3. The number of drivers prosecuted for failure to wear a seatbelt and given the maximum fine of £500 in the following years, split by year: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (so far).
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 in part 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
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at question 2, would entail a member of staff manually reviewing all fixed penalty notices issued for not wearing a seat belt to establish the gender and age of the driver.
An intital search has identified in excess of 3,000 such records for one of the years you specified. Accordingly this would equate to over 15,000 for the five year period 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 this information would take over 500 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.
As part 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. However, 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 question 1 as written above for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 to 08/08/14 only .
If that would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.
In an effort to aid and assist, I can advise that no information is held regarding 2009. Our recording sytem only holds information for five years.
Northumbria Police hold no information in relation to question 3. You may wish to redirect this part of your request to the Ministry of Justice.
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 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.