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.
- I would like to know how many times police officers took people to hospital because an ambulance was not available in 2016 to present (so January 2016 to 28th January 2018). If I could have the figures broken down by month please.
- If you keep a breakdown of details of the incidents (i.e what the member of the public was suffering from) could you include that in your response also.
- Also if your police force has a policy on taking people to hospital – could you please send me through your policy please.
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 Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police, however, cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.
The information at point 1 & 2, is not held statistically and cannot be extracted within the permitted time constraints. To explain, the police use the marker ‘AMBS16’. This is when a police officer/staff decide to act on their own initiative, which would include transporting patients. Between April 2016 and March 2017, alone, there were 1677 times when this marker was used. In order to establish if police transport was used because there was no ambulance available, each incident would have to be manually reviewed to locate in order to answer your questions in full. Even at a conservative estimate of 4 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 111 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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 that part of your request.
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, 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 ‘‘Between January 2016 to 20th January 2018 (note we only have the data up to this date), the number of times the police have transported persons using the marker AMBS16: Police transport’, broken down by month. Please note, this cannot be narrowed/broken down any further as mentioned in your S12 refusal above.
In relation to question 3, please find our response below.
3. No information held. We do not have such a policy.