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 fixed speed cameras are operational as of 20/08/21?
- how many fixed cameras are in a "dummy" state as of 20/08/21?
- is there to be any enforcement of the 50 mph zone around the A roads at the silverlink ?
- how much does it cost the force to run 1 fixed speed camera and what is the total cost force-wide per yer ?
- how much money has been generated in fines force-wide between June 1st 2020 and May 2021 ?
With regards to point 1 & 2 this information will not be disclosed as the below exemption has been considered and applied as relevant.
Section 31(1)(a)(b) (Law Enforcement)
Section 31 of the Act (Law Enforcement) states that information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to prejudice:
(a) The prevention or detection of crime
(b) The apprehension or prosecution of offenders
This exemption is a qualified and prejudice based exemption and therefore the legislators accept that there may be harm if released into the public domain. The authority has to consider and describe the harm that would occur if the information were released and carry out a public interest test. In accordance with best practice, I detail the harm first.
To disclose information detailing the number of cameras operational, and the number of dummy cameras in use would indicate the use of such resources available to Northumbria Police to deal with speeding offences. The release of such information would identify any perceived weaknesses in camera activity. Those with the intent to do so may then be under the impression that speed offences are less likely to be caught on speed cameras. This would obviously impact on the Police service’s ability to protect the public it serves and could prejudice its ability to perform core functions such as Law Enforcement.
Safety cameras are not always active and the Police rely on the perception by drivers that camera housings could be active and would therefore adjust their speed so as not to contract a fine. The release of such detail would diminish the effectiveness of safety cameras and undermine police enforcement.
Speeding above the stated limit is an offence and withholding this information from the public ensures that any driver who exceeds the speed limit would maintain the perception that they are risking criminal liability.
Factors favouring disclosure
The release of the information would demonstrate the openness of the organisation to make such matters public. Disclosure would contribute to the accuracy and quality of public debate and allow the public to know what resources are being utilised in their areas.
Factors favouring non disclosure
As per the harm addressed above - Disclosing the requested information would inform those with disregard for the law, whether their speeding is more or less likely to be caught on camera. This could then have an impact on the safety of other motorist
Having considered both sides of the public interest, it is considered that the balance favours non disclosure of the information requested. Whilst this information may be of interest to the public, it is not in the public interest to provide those with intent to do so the means to target places which may or may not have a perceived lack of police resources. Such disclosures would always be resisted.
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.
3. No information held. This is not recorded.
4. No information held. This is not recorded information. Costs are not held or calculated down to this level.
As most of the above questions relate to fixed cameras we are assuming that this point also relates to fixed cameras and our response below is on that assumption.
5. No information held. Fines generated between mobile/fixed sites are not held separately and therefore this information is not held.