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.
Could you please provide details of how many complaints have been made regarding officers conduct at football matches since the start of August 2013 to August 2018. I would like the information broken down by individual complaint
For each complaint could you please provide where possible:
- The date of the incident to which the complaint refers
- The match taking place
- What the complaint was
- The outcome of the complaint
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
To note – we are taking it that you are referring to formal complaints made to our Professional Standards Department (PSD) and our research has been conducted accordingly.
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, if held, would need to be sourced from ‘complaint’ records held by the Professional Standards Department. As there is no search facility that could establish if the allegation related to any ‘football match’, all ‘complaint’ records would require a manual review to establish if any such complaint allegation took place . There are in excess of 4500 complaint allegations recorded by PSD. Even at a conservative estimate of 10 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract any information regarding officers conduct at any football matches would take over 750 hours, therefore, as we are unable to determine if such records are held within the permitted time limit Section 12(2) is appropriate.
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 complaints regarding officers conduct at named locations of football matches, ie St James Park, as provided by you.
Researchers could then carry out research to establish if that location had been recorded as the site of any compliant.
If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly, however you should note that at this stage it is not known if this alternative can be achieved within the 18 hour threshold.