Disclosure Details

20mph limits - 457/16

Dated: 22 Apr 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 April  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. 

You asked:

I would be obliged if you would let me have sight of any written policy concerning the detection and/or prosecution of drivers contravening the twenty (20) speed limits within the Northumbria Police area for the past 3 (three) years

I would also be obliged if you could release details of the numbers of drivers prosecuted/cautioned for contravention of the 20mph limits. 


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 both the Motor Patrols and Fixed Penalty Units 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, particularly regarding prosecutions, is not held in an easily retrievable format.  There is no specific code for searching to see if a prosecution for speeding related to 20mph or indeed any other speed limit.  In 2015 alone there were 2433 speeding offences which resulted in prosecution.  Each of those would require manual review to establish the speed limit exceed.  Even at a conservative estimate of 1 minute per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 40 hours, therefore 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. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to 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. 

The information provided is for the last 3 calendar years, 01/01/13 to 31/12/15.

6 Fixed Penalty notices have been issued for exceeding the 20mph speed limit. 

On this occasion we have supplied the procedure below as we have considered no harm in its release.  However you should note that this may not be the case should further similar requests for disclosure of documents be made.

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.

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 457-16 - Procedure