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.
Please could I request the following information regarding all marked vehicles within your fleet;
- The Vehicle Make & Model
- The Registration Number
- The Role of the Vehicle (i.e. Dog Unit/Patrol/Traffic Unit)
- Station it is based at
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 Fleet Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as attached.
With regards to ARVs, this information will not be disclosed and in withholding we rely on the following exemption.
Section 31 (1) (a) (b) - Law Enforcement
Sections 31 is a prejudice based qualified exemption and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in disclosure as well as carrying out a public interest test.
Any disclosure under FOIA is a disclosure to the world at large, and confirming the detail requested for ARVs would indicate to the world which vehicles, and how many, carry weaponry. The disclosure could then be used to target these vehicles and compromise any initial response to a terrorist attack or armed criminality incident, thus placing the occupants, as well as the general public at risk. It also gives an indication of the maximum number of ARVs we could deploy, and from what location. In addition to allowing the local criminal fraternity to be better informed, those intent on organised crime throughout the UK will be able to ‘map’ where the use and degree of certain resources are able to be deployed. This can be useful information to those committing crimes and specifically terrorist activities. This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to both members of staff and the public at large.
Factors favouring disclosure
Better awareness of the means available to forces may reduce crime and could lead to better understanding of the means available to help protect the public. This could lead to reassurance as to how the police are equipped to deal with more serious matters should the need arise. By disclosing what vehicles we have to enable us to carry out policing activities would enable the public to see where public funds are being spent, and allow them to be better informed.
Factors against disclosure
By disclosing down to the detail requested would be putting information that would be extremely useful to those with ill intent into the public arena. This would then aid them to target their criminality to those forces or locations which may be perceived as less well equipped to deal with such instances. This would then impact on Law Enforcement and the ability to protect the public, putting individuals at risk. The risk of putting into the public domain any information that would be of use to those with the intent to harm should be avoided at all costs.
The security of the country is of paramount importance and the police service will not divulge whether information if to do so could undermine national security or compromise law enforcement. Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and in providing assurance that the police service is appropriately and effectively equipped to deal appropriately with the threat posed by the criminal fraternity/terrorists, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both national security and the integrity of police resources.
As much as there is public interest in knowing what resources Northumbria Police have available this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances.
Therefore it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for disclosing the requested information is not made out.
Fleet List - Marked Vehicles - 1126/19