Breakdown of Patrol Notices

David Mayall made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear British Waterways Board,

In order to provide some clarity and understanding of perceived problems relating to overstaying by boats on visitor and casual moorings, please supply the following information;

A) Statistics as to number of boats currently afloat on BW waters broken down into categories as follows;
1) Private Pleasure with Mooring
2) Private Pleasure without Mooring (Continuous Cruiser)
3) Private Pleasure without Mooring (Portable or mooring on non-BW waters)
4) Hire Business
5) All other categories of licenced craft
6) BW's latest estimate of unlicensed craft

B) Statistics as to the number of Patrol Notices (or similar documents) issued, broken down (cross tabulated) by reason for issue, and licence status of the vessel as enumerated at part A, for the most recent 12 month period that is available

C) Statistics relating to the number of active enforcement proceedings as at the most recent date for which you have data, broken down in a similar manner.

D) Statistics, broken down by licence status (as at A above), showing the number of boats issued with;
1) A single patrol notice (or similar) over that 12 month period.
2) Between 2 and 4 patrol notices over that period
3) Five or more patrol notices over that period.

Yours faithfully,

David Mayall

Information Request,

Dear Mr Mayall,

Thank you for your e-mail today and your request for information below.

We will review the information that we hold relating to your request and a response will be sent as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days of the receipt of your request today.

Kind Regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Information Request,

Dear Mr Mayall,

I am writing further to my acknowledgement and your request of 1st June 2011.

I am now in a position to respond to the various requests that you made and will do so below in the order which you raised them:

A) Statistics as to number of boats currently afloat on BW waters
broken down into categories as follows;

1) Private Pleasure with Mooring
29076
2) Private Pleasure without Mooring (Continuous Cruiser)
3800
3) Private Pleasure without Mooring (Portable or mooring on non-BW
waters)
1115
4) Hire Business
640
5) All other categories of licenced craft
1324 (these are business licences with uses other than hire, eg trade places, community boats etc).
6) BW's latest estimate of unlicensed craft
1304 unlicensed boat cases, including 131 unidentified boats. (Information as at 14 June 2011)

B) Statistics as to the number of Patrol Notices (or similar
documents) issued, broken down (cross tabulated) by reason for
issue, and licence status of the vessel as enumerated at part A,
for the most recent 12 month period that is available
British Waterways does not hold the information requested

C) Statistics relating to the number of active enforcement
proceedings as at the most recent date for which you have data,
broken down in a similar manner.
Information valid as at 14th June 2011:-
Licence Enforcement 1304
Mooring Enforcement 320
Overstay Enforcement 165
Continuous Cruiser Enforcement 327
Other 2213

D) Statistics, broken down by licence status (as at A above),
showing the number of boats issued with;
1) A single patrol notice (or similar) over that 12 month period.
2) Between 2 and 4 patrol notices over that period
3) Five or more patrol notices over that period.
British Waterways does not currently hold this information

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Allan Richards left an annotation ()

May I suggest that the figure for 'other' is queried -

C) Statistics relating to the number of active enforcement
proceedings as at the most recent date for which you have data,
broken down in a similar manner.
Information valid as at 14th June 2011:-
Licence Enforcement 1304
Mooring Enforcement 320
Overstay Enforcement 165
Continuous Cruiser Enforcement 327
Other 2213

I believe that an error may have occurred and that 2213
should be 97 (or thereabouts)

Dear Ms Young,

Thank you for your response.

Whilst it contains some useful information, I regret that I cannot currently accept the response provided as fully discharging BW's duties to supply information under the act.

There are two points upon which I must take issue;

Firstly, in part (C) 2213 from a total of 4329 enforcement proceedings, slightly over half the total proceedings, are simply shown as "other". It would appear improbable that there can be so many other different types of enforcment proceedings that over half of them defy any logical classification.

Please could you further classify these 2213 proceedings (or clarify that there is actually an error, and that 2213 is in fact the TOTAL number of actions, made up of the four stated categories and 97 "others")

Secondly, in relation to parts B and D, and in relation to the presentation of data in part C, you assert that British Waterways does not currently hold the requested information.

As BW clearly holds information as to the licence/mooring status of each boat on its waterways, and as it is clearly vital to the proper conduct of any enforcement action to hold details of what patrol notices etc have been issued to a boat, it seems clear that British Waterways must hold information identifying which boats have been issued with one or more patrol notice during the relevant period, and that it does hold the information that has been requested.

Yours sincerely,

David Mayall

Dear British Waterways Board,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request that my response to this request dated 28th June 2011 be treated as a request for an internal review of British Waterways Board's handling of my FOI request 'Breakdown of Patrol Notices'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/br...

Yours faithfully,

David Mayall

Information Request,

Dear Mr Mayall,

Thank you for your e-mails of 28th June and 7th July. I have now had the opportunity to speak to my colleagues about your request and can confirm that you are correct - there was an error within the data extracted to respond to your initial request.

The actual information is as follows, correct as of 11th July 2011:

Coding Total
E10 Licence Enforcement 1351
E20 Mooring Enforcement 338
E30 Overstay Enforcement 124
E40 Continuous Cruiser Enforcement 343
E50 Other 96
Grand Total 2252

I confirm again that we do not hold details of numbers of patrol notices issued/reason for issue. Currently patrol notices are solely paper based and are served by individual local enforcement officers, we do not hold electronic copies of these notices or a database of their issue. Patrol Notices are only advisory, Section 8 notices serve as part of a legal process and are therefore logged and stored appropriately. The primary purpose of a Patrol Notice is to initiate communication between the boat owner and our Enforcement Officers.

However, I can confirm that a patrol notice would not be issued on a boat that is sunk, abandoned, stranded or unauthorised. Only a section 8 notice would be served under these circumstances - the notice is a standard document and entitled 'Sunk, Abandoned, Stranded or Unauthorised', no distinction between reason for issue is made.

Yours sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 | Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Nigel Moore left an annotation ()

There is something not right here. Details as to reason for issue are logged for Patrol Notices which are only advisory - and yet Section 8’s, which serve as part of a legal process, record no reason for issue?

What happens at court? Do BW plead that the notice was served simply because the boat fell into any one of 4 categories, but they can’t tell which? How could they establish the basis for service when in such a state of ignorance? A defendant has the right to know precisely of what he is accused. If he is unlicensed, he should have the opportunity to redress that; if moored unlawfully [whatever that might entail], he should be given the chance to move on to a lawful mooring; if the boat is sunk, he should have the opportunity to raise it; if stranded or abandoned, then that could be confirmed or the action simply proceeded with if the owner untraceable.

It is true that there is no indication on the Section 8 notice itself, but the Patrol Officer must naturally log the action taken, with the reason for it. All such notices served on a vessel are followed up with a carbon copy of the notice with an accompanying letter to the registered owner’s address, and the details will be sent to the legal team. Any query as to why such a notice was served would be answered with the relevant reason given – the notice would be legally unenforcable otherwise; even BW must show cause in a court of law.

Besides, it is simply untrue: when I queried some Section 8 notices, I was informed by Nigel Johnson that they had been issued on the grounds that the boats were “unlicensed &/or on unauthorised moorings”. How did he know – if that was not a matter of record?

Also – see the response to my own question on early Section 8’s. There, the reason given for the service of some 931 Sections 8’s since 1st November 2009 is not only identified as being based on lack of a boat licence, that reason alone is broken down into why there was no licence – i.e. whether BW had revoked the licence [37 instances] or not [894 instances]. That later category is even further broken down by identifying which of the instances involve live-aboards [225 instances] and which did not [669 instances].

Where did all that precise information come from if there is no record, as claimed? I suspect that the answer that has been provided is one of the elliptical evasions BW is infamous for – it answers truthfully that the notice itself contains no detail of basis while simply not addressing the existence of corollary documentation.