Disclosure Details

Mobile phone use - 1359/16

Dated: 16 Feb 2017

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

Thank you for your e mail dated 7 December 2016 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 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 make a request under the Freedom of Information Act please for some information about people found using mobile phones whilst driving. 

I would like the data to cover the period from January 2015 to December 2016 - or the most recent date possible.

The information I would like please is

1) The number of drivers stopped by police for using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel during the above period. 

2) How many of those stopped during this period were issued with penalties. 

3) Of the penalties which were issued during this period, how many drivers were issued with fines and how many were given penalty points on their driving licenses.

4) The number of drivers arrested during this period for using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel.

5) The number of drivers prosecuted during this period for using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. 


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 for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable format. In the time period specified our Fixed Penalty Unit have processed in excess of 1600 offences for use of mobile phone.  Each of these would need a manual review to establish a response to your request.  Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 53 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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.

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.

You should note that those figures are just those dealt with by the Fixed Penalty Unit.  There will be more instances where an automatic summons by an officer may have been raised, which would increase the time further. 

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 these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes. 

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.