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.
1. How many of the force’s vehicles have been damaged by potholes in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 so far? Please break the data down by calendar year.
2. How many vehicles does the force own in total?
3. What was the total cost of pothole damage to the force’s vehicles in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 so far? Please break the data down by calendar year.
4. How many of the force’s vehicles had to be written off due to pothole damage in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 so far? Please break the data down by calendar year and vehicle type.
5. Please provide an itemised list of the force’s vehicles damaged by potholes in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 so far. For each incident please indicate vehicle type (eg motorbike, patrol car etc), cost, calendar year the incident was recorded and summary.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
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.
There is no way we can establish what information is held within the permitted 18 hour threshold as to do so would require all damage to vehicle reports to be manually reviewed by a member of staff to establish if any mentioned ‘pot hole’ as being the cause of the damage. This cannot be achieved within the prescribed 18 hours. Such records are held by financial year and for the period for 2014/15 to 2017/18 and 2018/19 (to date) there are in excess of 1800 damage to vehicle records.
Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as a reasonable minimum, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 94 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable.
Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to your request at point 2 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.
2. I am able to confirm that the Northumbria Police fleet of owned vehicles is 752 as of 18.5.18.