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Speeding Offences During Covid-19 - 634/20

Date Responded 29 April 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:

Between the dates of 23rd March 2020 and 13th April 2020 please provide the following information:

  1. The highest recorded speed by a driver within the force area that you police?
  2. What was the speed limit of the section of road where this speed was detected?
  3. On what stretch of road and at what time of day was this speed recorded?
  4. How many drivers were caught exceeding a 30mph limit in your force?
  5. How many drivers were caught exceeding a 20mph limit in your force?
  6. How many drivers were issued with a penalty for doing non-essential journeys in contravention of the Government’s lockdown instructions?

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fixed Penalty Unit and Area Commands of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

  1. 86mph
  2. 70mph
  3. A1 Felton by Pass – Midday
  4. 102
  5. No information held.  We have no figures for this part of the request.
  6. You may be aware that a publication strategy is in place with regards to requests received by Northumbria Police where the information required in the requests relates to Corona - Coronavirus - Covid 19 – Virus and Hate Crimes.  To aid and assist you, I have copied the link to the strategy below:

https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/our-services/make-an-information-request/freedom-of-information-request/

The information you have requested at this point will therefore not be disclosed at this current time and by withholding we will rely on the following exemption:-

Section 22 Information Intended for Future Publication

            (1) Information is exempt information if -

            (a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not)

            (b) The information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and 

(c) It is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a)

Section 22 is a class based qualified exemption which requires us to apply a Public Interest Test to decide if the information you require should be released ahead of the publication strategy.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring disclosure:-

To release the information that is held at this particular time would provide the public with an awareness of the most recently collected data serving to enhance public knowledge of the subject, by providing current information that may better inform public debate on the decisions taken by Northumbria Police.

Factors favouring non-disclosure:-

As you will be aware from information already in the public domain, this is an unprecedented situation which we all find ourselves in.  However, Northumbria Police accept that this is a subject of great public interest and accordingly, a decision has been made to consider publishing this information following the conclusion of the pandemic.

Balancing Test

To clarify, the pandemic is ongoing and collated information held at this time will not include all details in relation to the situation as a whole.  Accordingly, any information provided would not be accurate and that which is held is likely to change as a result of further conclusions made prior to publication.

For a disclosure of this nature to be appropriate, a valid reason or reasons which identify a tangible benefit to the public from disclosure of information needs to identified.  In this case a decision has been made to fully consider the disclosure of the information at a future date and the information is verified as accurate.  Section 22 allows for circumstances when it is reasonable and correct for public authorities to delay the provision of information until it is made generally available through publication.  The additional resources expended by the force to deal with your request at this time would not be in the public interest.

For the reasons outlined above the balancing test for disclosure at this time is not made out.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this represents a Refusal Notice for that part of your request.

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