Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
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.
Since January 2016 to date:
- How many complaints have been received by the police in relation to damage/removal of tree/s protected by a Tree Preservation Order
- How many investigations have been carried out into damage/removal of tree/s protected by a Tree Preservation Order
- How many prosecutions have there been of crimes related to damage/removal of tree/s protected by a Tree Preservation Order
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 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 your request.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
The information requested is not already held statistically , nor is it held in format that would allow its extraction from systems within the permitted 18 hour threshold. Tree preservation orders are a non-notifiable offence. Searches for any and all disposals under the relevant HO code have brought back no results . It should be noted that a disposal is on a person - this doesn't mean that there have been no reports, only that there have been no situations in which we've genuinely suspected someone of having damaged a preserved tree.
A keyword search was then performed on the keyword ‘preservation’ to try and find incidents relating to the criteria of this submission. This brought back 213 incidents, each of which would need to be manually reviewed to ascertain whether they relate to a tree preservation order or a suspected tree preservation order. Even at a conservative estimate of 6-8 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, in addition to the time taken to gather data thus far, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 18 hours, therefore Section 12(2) of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable .