Disclosure Details

Mountain & Lowland Rescue Call Outs - 794/12

Dated: 06 Nov 2012

Date of request:   11/10/2012

Date of response:   25/10/2012 

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

Thank you for your email dated 11 October 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: 

Could you, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, provide me with the following information:
A tabulated spreadsheet data set (xls or xlsx format) of all emergency calls to your force resulting in a call out for mountain rescue or lowland search and rescue assistance between January 1st 1995 and the present day.
Including the following information, where held:

a) The date and time of the call

b) The location of the incident 

i) Where multiple methods of recording these are used (name, grid reference, lat/lon) include all.

c) The Mountain Rescue/Lowland Rescue Team(s) alerted

d) The weather conditions

e) The nature of the incident

f) The likely cause of the incident

g) The outcome of the incident

h) The home location (as town/city name) of the casualty/casualties

j) The age of the casualty/casualties

k) The gender of the casualty/casualties

l) The determined level of experience of the casualty/casualties

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 Communications 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 you have requested is not held in an easily retrievable format.  To extract the information requested would involve using key words on the incident recording system.  For the time period requested by you, we have estimated that searches would involve over 4 million incidents.  Text searches can only be carried out for 14 day periods at a time and would have to rely on key words being input that matched the text of the actual incidents.  Each of the 14 day period searches would have to be set up individually by a staff member, each would require manual viewing and then the positive hits read to enable us to extract the information as requested in a - l above.  Even at a conservative estimate of 1 minute per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and collate this information, would take in excess of 3,920 hours for a 1 year period alone, 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.

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 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.


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