Smoking in vehicles - 031/16
Dated: 19 Jan 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 7 January 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.
1. The number of fixed penalties issued by Northumbria Police to individuals found to be smoking in a vehicle carrying someone who is under the age of 18 since 1 October 2015?
2. The number of warnings issued by Northumbria Police to individuals found to be smoking in a vehicle carrying someone who is under the age of 18 since 1 October 2015?
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:
A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.
I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require at point 2 is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) 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.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
To establish if any information is held at this point would involve each officer in the force being contacted to establish if they had recorded information of any instances where they had warned an individual found to be smoking in a vehicle carrying someone who was under the age of 18. This would far exceed the permitted time constraints of the Act.
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 point 1 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.
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.
You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.
The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
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 wider 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.
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.