Information Compliance and Disclosure Section
Police Headquarters, Saunders Lane, Hutton, Preston PR4 5SB
Tel: 01772 412326
Sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 3rd August 2017
Dear Paul Ponting
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPLICATION REFERENCE NO: ICDS/FOI/003703/17
Thank you for your request for information received by Lancashire Constabulary on 06/07/2017 which
was as follows: When recording a complaint, Lancashire Police must first make a decision of whether the
complaint is Local Resolution or Local Investigation.
The IPCC has set out guideline for how this decision is made, in a nutshell, if the allegation is
proven, would there be any likely misconduct or criminal charges.
This decision is made without looking at any evidence and must be made by an appropriate
authority based on the allegation alone.
It is my experience that decision is wrong on far to many occasions.
What I want to know is, what is the process for making the decision?
What is the police process for rectifying a decision 'made in error'.
Who is the ultimate authority for overlooking PSD to ensure they have not abused the power to
give an incorrect classification.
To clarify, an LR (Local resolution) complaint has outcome of misconduct against the officer
involved so it is believed that this is a 'default' by PSD in an attempt to avoid misconduct or
criminal charges being brought against officers where possible.
Local Resolution complaints do not have the right to appeal to the IPCC.
Who is the correct authority to report this abuse of process and what is the correct format to
Your request has now been considered and the information you are seeking cannot be provided at this
Please be advised that this task cannot be undertaken at this stage as we believe Section 14(1) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies. This letter serves to act as a refusal notice for this request,
as per S.17 (5) of the Act.
S.14 (1) states: Section 1 (1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request
We have received six requests from you within the space of a few days (our refs: 3703/17, 3704/17,
3705/17, 3706/17, 3707/17, 3711/17) and whilst these requests have all been considered on their own
merits, some considerations are relevant to more than one request.
Whilst responses have been provided to the previous requests that you have made under the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we consider the influx of your requests over the space of 4 days
from 06/07/2017 to 10/07/2017, where we received 6 requests, consists of a scattergun approach. It
appears that you are using the FOIA in an attempt to obtain any and as much information as you are
able to fuel your continuing complaints against Lancashire Constabulary and its employees in relation
to matters which have been subject to formal consideration. One of the outcomes from your on-going
campaign is your pro-active publication of information in relation to your involvement with Lancashire
Police; this is often in an accusatory manner including unsubstantiated allegations about the force and
Guidance from the ICO refers to the ICO decision notice FS503245650; this states that ‘it considers
this request the continuation of a vexatious campaign, the results of which have already been
provided, and on which nothing further can be done’. It appears that this request is a continuation of a
wider vexatious campaign against the Authority in which you seek to obtain information that you can
subsequently use to re-open an issue that has been fully resolved by Lancashire Constabulary. Even
if this request had not been received with a variety of other requests, S14 (1) would still have been a
relevant consideration and the points raised in this letter would still be justified.
When considering ICO guidance on assessing the purpose and value of a request, it is made clear
that if the request does not obviously serve to further the requesters stated aims or if the information
requested will be of little benefit to the public then this will restrict its value, even where there is clearly
a serious purpose behind it. In this case, whilst we have no doubt that there is a serious purpose
behind this request, we believe it displays unreasonable persistence in an effort to re-raise an issue
that has already been fully considered by the authority and therefore completely limits the value of the
In applying this exemption, it is noted that a request which would not normally be regarded as
vexatious in isolation may assume that quality once considered in context and whilst the Act is
generally considered as applicant blind this does not mean Lancashire Constabulary cannot take into
account the wider context. The context and history in which this request has been made is a major
factor in our decision to apply Section 14(1). When determining whether a request is vexatious one of
the factors we must take into account is previous dealings between the authority and the requester.
The ICO guidance states that ‘this includes past behaviours, for instance, if the authority’s experience
of dealing with his previous requests suggests that he won’t be satisfied with any response and will
submit numerous follow up enquiries no matter what information is supplied, then this evidence could
strengthen any argument that responding to the current request will impose a disproportionate burden
on the authority.’.
In the case of Betts vs ICO, (EA/2007/0109 19May 2008), The Tribunal found that although in isolation
the request might not be vexatious, when considered in context it was a continuation of a pattern of
behaviours and part of an ongoing campaign. The request on its own may have been simple but
experience showed it was very likely to lead to further correspondence, requests and complaints.
It is noted that you have made in excess of 50 complaints comprising of over 80 allegations against
the Constabulary within the last 4 years including numerous follow up enquiries and correspondence
with our Professional Standards Department; it is not unreasonable to suggest that a disproportionate
burden will be imposed which therefore supports the argument that this request is vexatious. The
Constabulary has been in continuous correspondence with you over a number of years concerning
issues which have previously been investigated. It is therefore considered that even if the
Constabulary do respond to you on this matter, past experience would suggest that it is likely that it
will generate further complaints, requests and correspondence.
A case in point and purely in relation to FOI is one of your previous requests (FOI/3254/16) in relation
to data which could not be extracted from Lancashire’s systems within 18 hours. Within your internal
review you stated that all forces had provided the information. However upon checking with other
forces within the region in order to understand how we might comply with your request within 18 hours
it transpired that of those forces contacted, they had also refused the request on similar cost grounds.
It appears that you feel aggrieved should the response or answer that you receive not be to your
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request an internal review of our decision, you should write to the Information Assurance
Manager, Information Compliance and Disclosure Section, Police Headquarters, Saunders Lane,
Hutton, Preston PR4 5SB or alternatively send an email to email@example.com.
Details of the Constabulary’s Freedom of Information Complaint Procedures can be found attached to
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Information Commissioner’s Office cannot make a
decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by Lancashire Constabulary.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Yours sincerely Compliance Team
Information Compliance and Disclosure Section