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.
In August 2013, the government introduced new measures with the aim of deterring people from being in the incorrect lane for their speed, what is commonly called ‘Middle Lane Hogging’.
1. How many people have you charged (e.g. issued a fined/fixed penalty notice) with ‘middle lane hogging’ since the law was introduced in 2013 (please provide a year on year breakdown)
2.Please also indicate how many fines/fixed penalties your force area issued which may be related to ‘middle lane hogging’ including
Driving too slow
Please prioritise your response to the questions in the order asked e.g. if time constraints do not allow for all questions to be answered, please answer Q. 1 as priority.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Fixed Penalty Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed as the information you have requested is not held in a format that can be retrieved within the time limits of the Act.
'Middle lane hogging' would be encompassed within the offence of careless driving.
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually reviewing our recording system to establish the ticket number for each careless driving offence for the period you specified, then locating the fixed penalty ticket and reviewing each individual fixed penalty to establish which, if any, were for 'middle lane hogging' or related offences. We have estimated that it would not be possible to extract this information within the time constraints if the Act, therefore Section 12 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.
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.
Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill outside of the Act I have supplied information below, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.
Between August 2013 and June 2016, 392 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for careless driving.