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Police horses & dog injuries - 807/18

Date Responded 29 August 2018

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:

Would you be able to tell me please how many (if any) of your police dogs and horses have been injured on duty in the last 24 months? We are taking the last 24 months to be from August 2016 to July 2018.

Where possible can you tell me how many were deliberately harmed by a member of the public.

In Response:

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 Operations and Mounted Section Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however, cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information specific to your request for injuries to dogs is not held in a format that allows its retrieval within the permitted time constraints.  Each dogs record would require manual review to establish if they were injured on duty.  This would entail checking in excess of 200 records.  Even at a conservative estimate of 12 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to extract this information would take 40 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.

Although excess cost removes the force's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill, I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.

With regards to horses that have been injured, I am able to disclose as follows.

We have had 2 minor injuries to police horses within the past 24 months. One caused by a horse tripping whilst on routine patrol. The second with a horse catching its hoof on the horse box steps. We have had no incidents of harm caused by the public.

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