Date Responded 29 June 2020

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:

I would like to know the highest speeds recorded by the permanent speed camera on the A69 at Hexham each month from January 2019 to date.  If possible if you could provide the month and the highest speed recorded.

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Northumbria Police will neither confirm nor deny any information is held regarding your request and in doing so we rely on the following exemptions.

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
Section 38(2) Health & Safety
Harm in complying with S1(1)(a) – to confirm or not whether information is held
Disclosing the requested information would inform the public, whether speeding will result in a fine. 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. This would diminish the effectiveness of safety cameras and undermine police enforcement. It would also require an increased Police presence in the force area which would put an unnecessary strain on its resources.

From a Health & Safety perspective, the NPCC Roads Policing Strategy ‘Policing our roads together’ 2018/21 advocates a safe systems approach in an effort to prevent fatal and serious collisions. Safe Speeds is one of four key areas of enforcement activity known as the ‘Fatal 4’ (the others being Drink/drug driving, Seat belt use and use of mobile telephones while driving). Inappropriate or illegal speed was reported as a contributing factor in more than 19% of fatal collisions in 2018 (281 out of 1456), which is why ‘speeding’ is a strategic priority for our force.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 31 -
Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a)
Disclosure would ensure that the force is being open and transparent with information regarding roads policing and in this instance the speed cameras deployed to attempt to reduce instances of speeding and the aftermath this may involve.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a)
Disclosure would either confirm or deny instances when cameras may be active or when they are not. This would then have an impact of the perception as to when they may not be activated which would then have an impact on the risk to drivers of actually getting caught. This would undermine police enforcement.

Section 38 -
Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a)
To provide the information requested would ensure those drivers who do not break the law that Northumbria Police are taking road safety seriously and trying to ensure drivers are kept safe.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a)
Safety cameras are not always active and the Police rely on the perception by drivers that camera housings could be active. To confirm or deny what is or what is not held would diminish the effectiveness of safety cameras in the area and undermine police enforcement. This would then have a detrimental impact to the safety of our roads.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying that information pertinent to this request exists.

The effective delivery of operational law enforcement and the safety of the public takes priority and is at the forefront of Northumbria Police to ensure the prevention and detection of crime is carried out and the effective apprehension or prosecution of offenders is maintained.

To neither confirm nor deny what is held will maintain the deterrent effect for road users as they will not know the cameras activity and therefore comply with the advised speed for the road in order to avoid the risk of fine/prosecution.

Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test for neither confirming nor denying that information is held is appropriate in this case.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that information does or does not exist.



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