c/o PO BOX 481
Tel: 02380 478922
Dear Mr Montgomery FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NUMBER: 000196/15
Thank you for your request for information regarding convictions of EU Nationals (excluding British
Citizens) which has now been considered. Applicant Question:
1. I would like to know how many times a European Union / European Community / European
Economic Community national (excluding British citizens) has been convicted of an offence
in the United Kingdom since 1973, or from the earliest date from which records are
2. I would like to know how many times a European Union / European Community /
European Economic Community national (excluding British citizens) convicted of an offence
has been found to have had previous convictions elsewhere in the EU/EC/EEC since 1973,
or from the earliest data from which records are attainable.
Figures for only some or even one of the Home Nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and
Wales) will be acceptable if records for all are unobtainable. Incomplete figures will be acceptable. NPCC Response:
The purpose of the Internal Review is to assess if the initial requests were handled in accordance
with the Act and, where the requested information could not be provided that the correct
provisions of the Act have been applied. This process is not designed to address any subsequent
requests for information, or to answer new questions. Where appropriate I will be able to provide
additional background information to help explain the initial response or add context to the
information released, or to help clarify my decision to withhold information.
As an individual who was not involved in the initial handling of your request, I have undertaken an
independent review of all aspects of this request. I have considered whether the correct
procedures were followed in handling your request and whether the NPCC has met all of the
procedural obligations set out under the Freedom of Information Act (the Act). The findings of this
review are set out below.
Section 10 of the Act provides that requests must be answered with a response letter that is
compliant with Section 1 and Section 17 of the Act within 20 working days following the date of
1st Floor, 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN T 020 7084 8950 F 020 7084 8951
receipt of the request. The response to you was sent on 02/12/2015, 20 working days after receipt
of your final re‐clarified request.
It did confirm that the NPCC did not hold any information captured at the time of your request,
fulfilling the duty under Section 1(1)(a) of the Act.
The letter also provided you with details of your right of complaint therefore meeting obligations
under the provisions of Section 17 of the Act.
You responded to the NPCC on 18/12/2015 requesting an Internal Review of your response.
Your email dated 18/12/2015 raised a number of your concerns about how your FOI request has
been handled. 1. “I tried very hard to phrase my request in such a way that it could not be arbitrarily refused, but it
seems you managed to find an interpretation of the question which made this possible.”
2. “Please stop messing about and just provide the maximum amount of up to date information
possible within the cost limits, in line with the information provided to the Telegraph in 2011”.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) provides oversight through chief officers across the
police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to a number of national policing units,
agencies and projects including ACRO Criminal Records Office (ACRO).
I have further consulted with ACRO and sought clarity surrounding the original advice and
information provided to my colleague who provided the original refusal to you.
Considering each of the two points raised above in turn, I have made the following observations
I can confirm that ACRO does hold part information captured by your request and the response
previously provided to you is inaccurate. All information held on the PNC is ‘held’ for the purposes
of FOI, by ACRO as ACRO have access to PNC which contains over 9 million records.
In addition, the United Kingdom Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal records (UKCA/ECR)
exchanges conviction information with 27 other EU Member States when their nationals are
convicted in the UK or there are updates to those convictions.
The UKCA‐ECR is notified weekly by way of a Daily Activity File (DAF) from the Police National
Computer (PNC) when an EU national is convicted in the UK. The UKCA‐ECR processes this
information and notifies the relevant Member State.
Since the implementation of Bichard 7 additional updates are made to PNC records by the Courts.
These updates include remand in custody, remand on bail, convictions varied upon appeal and
breach of the court orders. These updates also generate a DAF to the UKCA‐ECR not all of which
are required to be sent to the other EU Member States under the Framework Decision.
However, part two of your request exceeds the fees limit as outlined by the Secretary of State in
that to ascertain exactly what information may be held on PNC would take longer than 18 hours. It
is primarily part two of your request which causes the limit to be exceeded.
In order to determine how many times a European Union / European Community / European
Economic Community national (excluding British Citizens) convicted of an offence has been found
to have had previous convictions elsewhere in the EU/EC/EEC since 1973, or from the earliest data
from which records are attainable will involve reading each individual PNC record. There were
37079 notification messages sent to EU Member States by the UKCA‐ECR in 2015. Roughly
estimating 10 minutes to read each record would take 370’790 minutes totalling over 6179 hours
for this year only. Section 12 – the legislation:
The provisions of section 12(1) of the Act are engaged in response to your request as the NPCC are
unable to confirm what information it might hold in relation to certain parts of your request
because to do so would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ – i.e. the cost limit. Section 12 of the Act
(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if
the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the
(2) Subsection (1) does not exempt the public authority from its obligation to comply with
paragraph (a) of section 1(1) unless the estimated cost of complying with that paragraph
alone would exceed the appropriate limit.
The ‘appropriate limit’ is defined in the Freedom of Information (appropriate limit and fees)
Regulations 2004. Section 3 and 4 of those Regulations provide that an authority can take into
account the costs it reasonably expects to incur in relation to a Freedom of Information request in
regards to the following four activities associated with handling that request:
(a) determining whether or not it holds the information
(b) locating that information, or document(s) which might contain the information
(c) retrieving the information, and
(d) extracting the information from a document containing it
The NPCC can refuse to handle an FOI request for information under Section 12 of the Act if it
reasonably estimates that it would take more than 18 hours of work to carry out the above four
activities in relation to that request. If the limit is exceeded, there is no requirement to the NPCC
to conduct work up to that limit – the limit applies to the whole request and there is no
requirement to answer other parts of a request even if only one area of the request on it sown
engages the limit.
To summarise, I overturn the original response stating that the NPCC does not hold information.
In compliance with S1(1)(a) of the Act, I can confirm that the NPCC does hold information captured
by your request.
Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires the NPCC, when refusing to provide
information by way of exemption, to provide you with a notice which, (a) states that fact, (b)
specifies the exemption in question, and (c) states why the exemption applies. In accordance with
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a refusal notice for your request,
superseding the original response provided to you on 02/12/2016.
In wishing to provide assistance to you outside of the Act, and on the understanding that your
request exceeds the cost limit, I have however included within this refusal notice a copy of data
provided in previous FOI responses for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
I wish to stress that ACRO does hold information on the number of notifications they receive from
the Police National Computer (PNC) when a record of an EU National is updated with a new
conviction; notifications are also generated when existing convictions are updated. These
notifications are then sent to the EU Member State of nationality by the UKCA‐ECR.
The destination Member Sate is determined by the nationality as entered on the PNC record. This
nationality can be self declared by the individual and therefore may not always be correct or
truthful. If a nationality is not entered on the PNC record the UKCA‐ECR will not receive a
notification from the PNC.
In 2012 and 2013 there were technical difficulties in extracting convictions handed down against
EU nationals which only appeared on the Criminal Registers in Scotland and Northern Ireland (Most
convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland appear on PNC). This has resulted in a number of
convictions handed down in 2012 and 2013 against EU Nationals in Scotland and Northern Ireland
being sent to the relevant Member State and thus appearing in the 2012 and 2013 figures. This has
also resulted in a number of convictions handed down in 2012 and 2013 against EU nationals in
Scotland and Northern Ireland not being sent to the relevant Member State and thus not appearing
in the attached figures.
The factors concerning the inclusion of updates and the issues around nationality and records in
Scotland and Northern Ireland mean the figures should not be quoted as an exact figure of the
number of EU national convicted in the UK. The figures are the number of notification messages
sent by the UKCA‐ECR to EU Member States.
Finally, point 2 of your request for an Internal Review states ‘………Stop messing about and just
provide the maximum amount of up to date information possible within the cost limits, in line with
the information provided to the Telegraph in 2011…….
’ To be clear, the information reported within
the Telegraph was notification data NOT conviction data. Your request clearly requested
Freedom of Information Officer & Decision Maker www.npcc.police.uk
If you are dissatisfied with the response you have been provided with, in compliance with the
Freedom of Information legislation, you can lodge a complaint with NPCC to have the decision
reviewed within 20 working days of the date of this response. The handling of your request will be
looked at by someone independent of the original decision, and a fresh response provided.
It would be helpful, if requesting a review, for you to articulate in detail the reasons you are not
satisfied with this reply.
If you would like to request a review, please write or send an email to NPCC Freedom of
Information, c/o PO Box 481, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9FS.
If, after lodging a complaint with NPCC, you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may make an
application to the Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.