Driving Offences - 1272/19

Date Responded 12 November 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 2 year period from 1st October 2017 to 31st October 2019 please can I have the information on how many drivers have been given an endorsable FPN for driving while smoking, eating or drinking. If possible a breakdown as below.

a. Eating behind the wheel.

b. Smoking behind the wheel.

c. Drinking behind the wheel.

2. Are Police officers or other emergency response are allowed to eat or drink while driving.

In Response:

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

Please note that we are unable to provide any information for a date in the future – ie after the date a submission is made under FOIA., we are only able to supply information up to the date of your request.

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 offence of eating or drinking behind the wheel is classed within the parameters of ‘not in proper control’. This offence covers a variety of things.

There were in excess of 260 offences of not in proper control between the dates stated. Each of those would need to be manually reviewed to establish if any met the criteria of this request. Unfortunately this exercise cannot be achieved within the 18 hour threshold and therefore Section 12(2) is relevant.

With regards to point 2, as this is an offence there are no exclusions to it.

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