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.
1. How many motorists have been issued a fixed penalty notice/fined for ‘middle lane hogging’ since the law was introduced? For each case please give details of the date and location of the incident, as well as the value of the fine/penalty - with the figures broken down for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
2. How many prosecutions have there been in relation to middle lane hogging? Please give details of date, location and result - with the figures broken down for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
3. I understand ‘middle lane hogging’ comes under the careless driving/due care and attention offence which also includes tailgating. If it is not possible to stipulate individually (i.e. middle lane hogging) then please provide figures for each of the above questions under this overarching charge.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fixed Penalty Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed as the information you have requested is not held in a format that can be retrieved within the time limits of the Act.
'Middle lane hogging' would be encompassed within the offence of careless driving. To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually reviewing our recording system to establish the ticket number for each careless driving offence for the period you specified, then locating the fixed penalty ticket and reviewing each individual fixed penalty to establish which were for 'middle lane hogging' and whether they were charged with that offence.
We have estimated that it would not be possible to extract this information within the time constraints if the Act, therefore Section 12 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 that part of 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 which relates to question 3. This was 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.
2013 – 16
2014 – 67
2015 – 178
2016 – 262
2017 – 218