RTC's Involving Animals/Wildlife - 1109/19

Date Responded 11 September 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:

For the years 2017 and 2018:

  1. The number of road traffic accidents reported that involved animals/wildlife
  2. A breakdown of the type of animal involved e.g. dog x 2, deer x 3, sheep x 4
  3. The number of humans killed following road traffic accidents involving wildlife
  4. The number of humans injured in road traffic accidents involving animals/wildlife


In Response:

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 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 is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted time constraints.  There is no search facility that allows such information to be easily extracted from recording systems used.  Keyword searches would need to be made on all recorded RTCs with the keywords for individual animals – ie dog, sheep, deer etc etc, for the two year period requested.

In an attempt to extract a response at point 1 - incidents recorded for the time period specified in your request which were finalised with an RTC code and where the word ‘dog’ (as an example) was included within the first 3 lines of the incident, (only the first 3 lines are searchable) were searched for.  This brought back in excess of 1,560 results, each of which would require a manual review to establish if any actually related to the specifics of your request.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3.5 minutes per record, which we have considered as a reasonable minimum, we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information, looking for dogs alone, would take over 91 hours.  Section 12(2) is therefore relevant.

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.

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