Disclosure Details

Driving Offences - 331/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:  29/03/2012

Date of response:  19/04/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 29 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: 

  1. I would like to know cases where people have been stopped by police for eating food while they are driving, and the types of food they have been eating.
    I would like to know whether they were given a caution or arrested, and what they were charged with.
    I would like to know the numbers of these incidents for 2009, 2010 and 2011, separately.

  2. I would like to know cases where people have been stopped by police for using mobile phone, smart phones while driving, and if recorded, details of what they were doing on their mobiles phones (whether texting, on facebook or talking on mobile phones.
    I would like to know whether they were given a caution or arrested or what they were charged with.
    Again, I would like to know the numbers of these incidents for 2009, 2010 and 2011, separately.

  3. I would like to know cases where people have been stopped by police for looking at their sat nav (tom tom), or where it has been a case of the sat nav distracting them, or whether they were keying in directions on their sat nav resulting in driving without care and attention.
    I would like to know whether they were given a caution or arrested or what they were charged with.
    Again, I would like to know the number of these incidents for 2009, 2010 and 2011, separately.

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 Criminal Justice Department and Fixed Penalty Unit 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 reason.

There is no specific offence of 'Eating food whilst driving' nor ' looking at sat navs causing distraction'.  Such offences may have been dealt with by more general offences, such as driving without due care and attention or driver not being in control. To fully respond to your request would require a member of staff  viewing both force systems and paper based archived records and notes made by the officer regarding the circumstances of the stop. To put this into perspective for you approximately 315 penalty notices were issued for the offence of driver not being in proper control for the period specified. Even at a conservative estimate of 15 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, retrieve and extract this information would take over 78 hours for that part 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. 

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 numbers of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for the use of mobile phones whilst driving, as this is a specific offence.
This could not be broken down further as the number of such offences would inhibit any further details being extracted within the time constraints of the Act

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

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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029