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 am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information about Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) that the police have issued to people under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020:
ACRO has told me that:
If someone believes they have been issued an FPN in error or unfairly, then this can be formally contested. Recipients need to respond to their enforcement letter to inform the police that they intend to challenge the FPN issued to them.
At this point, the relevant police force will assess the FPN and decide whether to proceed with prosecution. If so, the recipient is able to enter a plea of either not guilty or guilty, which is then received by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) where it will dealt with by way of the single justice procedure (SJP).
1. Please could you provide me with the total number of people that have informed your force they intend to challenge the FPN issued to them?
2. Of that number how many FPNs did you decide to
b) uphold and move to prosecution?
c) If your force was able to make other decisions besides prosecuting or retracting the FPN, please specify what those decisions were and how many FPNs they applied to.
d) How many FPN challenges are you still considering?
3. Of the FPNs that you decided to proceed to prosecution with, how many resulted in the recipient entering a not guilty plea?
4. How many resulted in the recipient entering a guilty plea?
5. In a situation where a recipient challenged their FPN but your force decided it should be upheld, would the recipient have still been able to pay the fine and avoid prosecution or do they lose that option?
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fixed Penalty Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
2. All FPN’s issued by Northumbria were reviewed before they were issued. If the reviewing officer decided a warning was appropriate the FPN was not issued. If an FPN was contested the defendant was given the option to take the matter to court. Northumbria Police do not consider contested notices that is done by the court.
3 & 4. No information held. These points should be directed to the courts.
5. It will be up to the Magistrates Court to decide if the FPN is to be upheld and the level of fine issued.