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.
The annual number of motoring accidents recorded by your police force where either the driver or a passenger of a vehicle involved was filming on a phone or camera. Please could you provide the data for the past five years, and break the information down by calendar year.
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, if held, would not be held in a format that would allow its locating and extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. Each and every collision would need to be reviewed to see if any note had been made whether either the driver or a passenger of a vehicle involved was filming on a phone or camera. There are approximately 8000 collisions in the force area per year. Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information for a one year period alone would take over 666 hours, therefore Section 12(2) is relevant.
It should be noted that if it had not been recorded on systems, that the officer dealing would need to be contacted to see if they had recorded whether either the driver or a passenger of a vehicle involved was filming on a phone or camera on any collision they had attended. Obviously this would then add considerably to the time.
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.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.
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.