Chief Officer Correspondence re Drugs - 085/20

Date Responded 11 February 2020

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.

You asked:

Any correspondence relating to Drug Consumption Rooms / facilities / centres (or Overdose Prevention Rooms / facilities / centres). If it is possible to do keyword searches on "drug consumption" and "overdose prevention", this would suffice.

For guidance, I am seeking correspondence sent or received by individuals of chief officer rank (Chief Constable / Deputy Chief Constable / Assistant Chief Constable) between 1 January 2019 and today (13 January 2020).

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Command Team and ICT Departments of Northumbria Police.

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.

Your request asks for ‘any correspondence’ held regarding Drug Consumption Rooms / facilities / centres (or Overdose Prevention Rooms / facilities / centres).  This request would require extensive manual searching of all written information held by individuals of chief officer rank within the force during the time period specified by your request to find, what if anything, fits the parameters of your request.  We would also have to conduct a search of those holding chief officer rank and above’s personal email accounts, as well as departmental mailboxes and basically any documents that have been compiled/sent/received over the period specified being located and manually reviewed to establish if any held any information in relation to this request.  This cannot be achieved within the permitted 18 hours.

It should be noted that to conduct a search, specific to you request, on emails would entail the creation of reports to run from a number of different databases and sources, the adaptation of some systems to extract the information, manipulation of the reports, sorting, querying and collation the data etc.  Therefore, we can neither confirm nor deny that we hold information within emails relevant to your request as "Manipulation of the raw data to produce the requested information would require levels of skill and judgement" - Johnson v ICO July 2007.

You should note that had Section 12(2) not been fully applicable other exemptions would have been considered and applied where relevant.

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