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Unlicensed Taxi drivers - 242/20

Date Responded 14 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:

In the years below how many reports of unlicensed taxi drivers did your force receive?

2017, 2018, 2019.

In Response:

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.

The information requested, if held, is not held in a format that would allow its extraction from recording systems. The only route to establish if anything is held would be  a keyword search for ‘taxi’ on all recorded incidents for the 3 year time period requested.  Initial searches have indicated that this would entail a review of in excess of 4000 records to establish if any related to ‘unlicenced taxi drivers’.  This cannot be achieved within the 18 hour time constraint, and has been estimated as exceeding 333 hours.  As such Section 12 is therefore relevant.

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 do so.

As unlicensed taxi drivers would be more likely to be dealt with directly via a council you may wish to redirect your query there.

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