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.
1. Did the government (including any representatives of the Home Office) consult with your police force on the development of Part 3 ("Public Order") of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which relates to police powers for protests. If so, can you please send me:
a. Any correspondence containing questions sent by Home Office officials to your police force regarding any consultation on Part 3 ("Public Order") of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
b. Written submissions by your police force to the Home Office regarding any government consultation on Part 3 of the Bill.
c. Any notes of meetings between officials of your police force and officials of the Home Office regarding any government consultation on Part 3 of the Bill.
2. Can you also please specify whether Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary consulted your police force on the issue of protest-related legislation as part of its "inspection of how effectively the police deal with protests". If so, can you please send me
a. written correspondence and notes of meetings between representatives of your police force and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary regarding this inspection.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
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.
In order to provide a definitive answer to your queries extensive searches would be required of all forms of correspondence across the force. This would include, but not limited to, e mails and letters which could have been specifically directed to any officer or department within the force. This would include both personal e mails and departmental mailboxes which would involve several thousand accounts being manually reviewed. This cannot be achieved within the permitted 18 hours and therefore Section 12 is applicable.
However, in an attempt to locate the information requested, searches were carried out by several departments deemed most likely to have dealt with such matters. These searches brought back nil results.