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DrugWipe Roadside Screening - 600/20

Date Responded 11 May 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:

This request relates DrugWipe roadside screening.

  1. Please supply any policies, procedures and guidance on conducting DrugWipe roadside tests.
  2. How many DrugWipe kits does the force have
  3. How many officers are trained to carry out DrugWipe roadside tests.
  4. Total number of roadside tests conducted in 2018
  5. Total number roadside tests that gave a false positive (where someone tested positive at the scene but subsequent lab testing failed to support the original result) in 2018.
  6. Total number roadside tests that gave a false positive for cocaine (where someone tested positive at the scene but subsequent lab testing failed to support the original result) in 2018.
  7. The total number of times the force has recorded that your officers failed to follow procedures fully on the recording of information about or from a roadside DrugWipe test at the scene in 2018

To Clarify, I am currently researching an issue regarding the use of DrugWipe and have sent similar requests to other police forces. I am not aware of any complaints however due to the nature of this issue there may have been complaints made.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information you have requested, where held, is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  With regards to point 3, we do not have a ‘total’ figure recorded anywhere.  To establish this figure would entail reviewing officers personal training files.  This exercise in its own right would far exceed 18 hours.

With regards to points 5 & 6, this again is not already held statistically and to provide would require a manual review of every arrest for Sec 5 A Road Traffic Act Arrest (driving/incharge/attempt to drive over prescribed drug limit) and then contacting each officer who dealt with the case for the outcome.  These points again would far exceed the 18 hours in their own right.

As we have estimated that to extract this information would take well over 18 hours,  Section 12(1) 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

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to some points of your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.

1.  No information held.  We have no specific policies/procedures/guidance on DrugWipe.

2.  No information held.  This is not a calculated figure and is dynamic in that it may change hour by hour.

4.  No information held.  Total number is not recorded

7.  To note, for the purpose of searching for information we are taking point 7 as formal complaints made to the Professional Standards Department regarding officers not following DrugWipe procedure.  These searches brought back no results.

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