RTCs - 034/17
Dated: 10 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 10 January 2017 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.
1. Does Northumbria Police Force have its own written procedure for the investigation of serious and fatal road traffic collisions?
2. If so when was that written procedure first adopted by Northumbria Police Force?
3. Please inform me of each date that the written procedure was amended so that I may know how many iterations of the procedure there are.
4. If possible please provide me with a copy of each of the written procedure as of 02/02/2009 and as of 02/02/2017.
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 within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. We have a Procedure document entitled Investigation of Serious and Fatal Road Traffic Collisions.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
4. See below attachments.
The following exemptions have been made where necessary and the relevant parts of the documents have been redacted.
Section 40 (2) - Personal Information
Section 40(2) is a class based absolute exemption and as such legislators have identified that there would be harm in disclosure and there is no requirement to evidence this or consider the public interest test. However, as Section 40(2) is engaged and in order to make the exemption absolute we need to evidence that a data protection principle would be breached by disclosure. In this case it would not be fair to process information which could lead to the identification of an individual, therefore the first principle of the Data Protection Act would be breached.
Personal information has therefore been removed at page 11 of the earliest document .
Section 30 (1) Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
Section 30 is a qualified exemption and requires the application of a public interest test which is set out below.
Disclosure regarding how Northumbria Police conducts its investigations into serious and fatal RTCs could enhance the accountability of the Force and its individual officers in carrying out their duties and investigations into such matters. This may encourage accurate and informed public debate and provide confidence in the Force's ability to investigate such matters.
The current or future investigative function of Northumbria Police would be undermined or compromised by release of all the requested information. Disclosure would prejudice future effective investigations and would cause damage to the service and the community. The public need to retain confidence in the Force in order to allow us to gather information and perform our public service function. There is no doubt that by providing the information requested in full would weaken full and complete investigations into such matters. Release of information that may aid those with ill intentions to avoid coming to the notice of the police is to be avoided. We would not reveal anything that may compromise the integrity of investigations, by disclosing what methods we have at our disposal to ensure such RTCs are investigated appropriately. This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to all members of the public.
I consider that the release of information which relates to how we conduct such investigations and the methods which allow us to do so effectively would have a huge impact on the ability of Northumbria police to conduct effective investigations in the future. We must seek to protect our core policing function and not disclose information which could potentially undermine the whole criminal justice process. I have therefore decided that on balance it is in the public interest to withhold these parts of the requested information and have redacted them appropriately. It is my view that provision of this information would not be beneficial to the integrity of police investigations.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you should consider this a refusal for those specific parts of your request.
With the above in mind please see the below.
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.
DownloadsFOI 034-17 AS OF 02-02-09 - REDACTED
FOI 034-17 AS OF 02-02-17 - REDACTED