Subject Access - 142/19

Date Responded 05 February 2019

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:

1) For the year 2018 how many subject access requests were made to Northumbria Police by former employees? In this context ‘employees’ is to mean both civilian staff and police officers.

2) For the year 2018 how many complaints were made to Northumbria Police regarding issues arising from a subject access request?

3) If there were complaints, as above, then how many of those complaints were made by former employees of Northumbria Police?

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Information Management Unit and the Professional Standards 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 requested is not held or its not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted time constraints. Each of your questions has been addressed below.


With regards to point 1. This is not recorded.  There is no requirement for an applicant to supply the name of his/her employer and/or previous employer.

With regards to points 2.  There have been in excess of 700 complaints made to the Professional Standards Department in 2018. To establish if any had been made as a result of a subject access would require each complaint to be manually reviewed. Even at a conservative estimate of 10 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information alone would take over 116  hours. Additionally a SAR is often made to get some background for a complaint that is going to be made anyway.  It would therefore be difficult to see if the complaint is because of the subject access request or whether the SAR is simply another element to a complaint.  Any extraction therefore may be inaccurate.

With regards to point 3.  As this point relies on the extraction of point 2, this part cannot be achieved. 

As your request has been estimated as exceeding the permitted 18 hour threshold,  Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable. 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.

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, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can give a meaningful response within the prescribed time limit.

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