Date Responded 18 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:

I am after a yearly breakdown of the number of people charged with a drug-driving offence and the number of people tested for drug-driving, For each question please could you provide a breakdown for the past five years, starting with March 2015 - February 2016, March 2016 - February 2017, March 2017 - February 2018, March 2018 - February 2019 and March 2019 - February 2020.

In particular, are you able to provide me with:

  1. A yearly breakdown of the total number of people charged with a drug-driving related offence.
  2. A yearly breakdown of the total number of people who tested positive for drug-driving.
  3. A yearly breakdown of the total number of people who were tested for drug-driving.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Operations and the Corporate Development Departments of Northumbria Police.

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 at point 3 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 at point 3, if held, is not held centrally, statistically nor is it held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  We would have to check with each 24/7 Officer, Neighbourhood Policing Officer and all Officers in vehicles to ascertain if a drugs test had been conducted within the time period specified by your request.  Clear this cannot be establish within the 18 hour threshold.

However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions 1 and 2.

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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