Disclosure Details

Unlicensed Drivers - 263/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:   08/03/2012

Date of response:   20/03/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 8 March 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: 

Please could you supply me with the following data from the last three calendar years (2009, 2010, 2011):

  1. The number of drivers without a license (non-license holder (never passed test type), or disqualified person who therefore in effect has no license, however not someone who has a basic license and then drives something else they aren’t entitled to) charged by your force.

  2. The number of those drivers who were also charged with being un-insured.

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 Corporate Development 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.

The information requested is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable format.  There is no easy way to search for the number of drivers without a license or drivers who were also charged with being un-insured.

The level of detail requested is not available in full from computerised records and may be handwritten on a custody record when an arrested person arrives in custody at any one of the designated police stations throughout the force area, or in the note book of the arresting officer.  A search made on one of the relevant offences, 'Driving a Motor Vehicle on a road otherwise than in accordance with a driving licence', has brought up in excess of 900 records.  These would then require further interrogation to establish if any were without a licence for whatever reason, and if any were uninsured.

Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract information for this one offence alone would take over 75 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. 

Further searches would then also be required for the offences of 'Disqualified from driving a motor vehicle on a road as they are under-age', and 'Disqualified from obtaining a licence or driving a motor vehicle on a road while disqualified'.

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for 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 the number of arrests for the offences Disqualified from driving a motor vehicle on a road as they are under-age, and Disqualified from obtaining a licence or driving a motor vehicle on a road while disqualified and Driving a Motor Vehicle on a road otherwise than in accordance with a driving licence.  No further information could be extracted within the time constraints.

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

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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029