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.
How many road accidents occurred (i.e where individuals were injured / at risk of injury) due to their eye sight / wrong eye prescription (i.e. contact lenses or glasses) between 2009 – 2019?
After we sought clarity you stated by ‘individuals’ you were referring to drivers of vehicles and that the search period was 01/01/2009 – 01/01/2019.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
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 than 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 that part of your request.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
We do not record such instances statistically. Whether an RTC occurred due to a drivers eye sight / wrong eye prescription is not a factor that is routinely recorded on our systems and there is no mandatory requirement to record this information. Whilst it may be recorded somewhere that this may have been the case, ie officers pocket note book or other form, it is not held in a format that is searchable or retrievable with the time limits of the Act.
To provide you with some context, for the period from 1 January to 13 November 2019 alone there have been 6,560 registered RTC’s, we would have to search the records for each RTC to ascertain, what if anything specific to your request was recorded. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over in excess of 546 hours, therefore Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act is appropriate.
When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.