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Corona Legislation - 539/20

Date Responded 22 April 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:

Following a statement you issued on Facebook I would like to know what legal basis you are using to threaten people with fines for driving to essential activities like exercise?

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Government legislation was recently passed which granted police new powers regarding the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Northumbria Police resolves issues every single day by talking to members of the public and we will continue to do this by engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow stay-at-home restrictions.  We have no desire to use the formal powers now made available to policing but its right that we’re able to enforce against those who disregard these measures and put people at risk. 

As the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

A copy of the legislation (legal basis) is available via the following government website:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/7/schedule/21/enacted

You may also find the guidance published by the College of Policing via the following link of interest:

https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/What-constitutes-a-reasonable-excuse.pdf

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