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Driving Whilst Using Mobile Phone - 1014/19

Date Responded 10 September 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:

The number of fixed penalty notices issued to motorists for using a mobile phone while driving in Morpeth for the each of the last 5 calendar years, 2013 - 2018 inclusive.

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.

There are no recording systems that allow the location of mobile phone offences to be isolated down to the location of the offence within the permitted time constraints.  To offer a response to your queries would entail a manual review of every such offence for each year specified.  To provide you with context of the task, for 2018 alone in excess of 600 such offences were recorded, each of which would require a manual review to establish the location of the offence.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information, for a one year period alone, would take over 30 hours.  Section 12 is therefore applicable.


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