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Off-Street Prostitution Policy - 381/20

Date Responded 10 March 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:

Could you please explain your policy or strategy regarding off street prostitution.

In Response:

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.

This information has been asked for previously, released and is published on the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log.  FOI 248/20 refers and the link to the Log is provided below.

Additionally you should note that an authority is not obliged to deal with requests that are manifestly unreasonable or obsessive. 

We have had several requests in the space of a one month period asking for almost identical information.  The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on such requests, which may be seen as the applicants working in concert,  states “there is a risk that some individuals and some organisations may seek to abuse these rights with requests which are manifestly unreasonable.  Such cases may well arise in connection with a grievance or complaint which an individual is pursuing against an authority.  While giving maximum support to individuals genuinely seeking to exercise the right to know, the ICO’s general approach will be sympathetic towards authorities where a request, which may be the latest in a series of requests, would impose a significant burden and can otherwise be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable".  It is clear that a Freedom of Information request is not the appropriate arena within which to air a grievance or progress a campaign against Northumbria Police.

You should therefore note that post legislative scrutiny of section of the Freedom of Information Act, suggests that it may be appropriate to extend section 14(1) to discharge public authorities from their obligation to comply with such requests.

I must advise that future requests on this subject may attract exemptions under this part of the Act.

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