Disclosure Details

Section 366 of the Communications Act 2003 - 784/12

Dated: 18 Oct 2012

Date of request:   08/10/2012

Date of response:   15/10/2012

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 8 October 2012 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

  1. The number of times constables of Northumbria Police have attended the execution of search warrants granted under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003. Please provide this information yearly since 2009. For the avoidance of confusion these search warrants are granted to Capita Business Services Ltd acting on behalf of the BBC and TV Licensing.

  2. 2. Any BBC/TV Licensing/Capita produced information held by Northumbria Police in relation to the execution of search warrants granted under section 366 of the Communications Act 2003.

In response:

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 than the information you require at question 2 is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours 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 your request.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

The information requested is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable or single format.  Any one of the Area Commands or departments, of which there are 6 and 13 respectively, or any of the units contained within those Area Commands and departments, could have had information generated by the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita regarding the execution of search warrants.  To establish what, if any, information is held would entail a member of staff at each Area Command and department searching post records, which may be electronic or paper based, and email systems.  For completeness each officer and member of staff would also need to be contacted to see if they had received any such information.  Such details searches could not be completed within the time limit prescribed by the Act.

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.

I can advise that a response to a similar FOI request will provide you with clarification in answer to part 1 of your request.  This is already in the public domain and is published via the Disclosure Log on the Northumbria Police website, FOI 211/12 refers.  The link to the Disclosure Log is provided below.

You should note that due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the crime data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the Disclosure Log.  The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the public interest.  The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.  I have provided the relevant link below:-


The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


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