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Date Responded 21 August 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:

he fleet list of vehicles operated by Northumbria Police, to include

a,Vehicle make and model

b,Year of production/model year

c, Vehicle type/purpose (e.g. armed response unit, dogs unit, etc.)

d,Whether the vehicle is owned or leased

e, Year of purchase/lease agreement

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fleet Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

To note, any information relating to covert vehicles, which have the potential to be captured as 'unmarked vehicles' in this request, will not be included in the disclosure and by withholding we will rely on the following exemption.

Section 31(1) - Law Enforcement 

Section 31 is a prejudice based qualified exemption and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or denying that the information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test. 

Overall Harm

To provide details regarding covert vehicles would cause harm as, once identified, those vehicles could be targeted thus placing the occupants at risk and the possibility that Policing would be undermined as offenders will gain knowledge about the covert vehicles owned by the force and therefore use that knowledge to avoid detection.  This would reveal policing tactics and so compromise investigations and any law enforcement strategies.  This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to both member of staff and the public at large.

Factors Favouring Disclosure

By disclosing what vehicles we have to enable us to carry out policing activities would enable the public to see where public funds are being spent, and allow them to be better informed.

Factors Against Disclosure

By confirming the identity of covert vehicles would compromise law enforcement tactics which would hinder the prevention and detection of crime.  More crime would be committed and individuals would be placed at risk, which would impact on police resources.

Balance Test

The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve.  The security of the public is of paramount importance and the Police service will not divulge information if to do so would place the safety of individuals at risk or undermine law enforcement.  Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing operations and providing assurance that the police service is appropriately carrying out its duties, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding both law enforcement and the integrity of police investigations and operations.  We have therefore concluded that to release information that would lead to the identity of covert vehicles would lead to the prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders and the administration of justice.

It is therefore our opinion that for these issues the balance lies in favour of non-disclosure of this particular part of your request.

With the above in mind please see the attachment which answers points a) to c) and e) of your query.

d, All vehicles are owned with the exception of one which is a load vehicle.

 

Fleet List - 987/19

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