FOI Update 19.03.20
Given the unprecedented challenges everyone is facing during the Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, PSNI as a first responding emergency service is working closely with colleagues in the Public Health Agency and other bodies for meeting those challenges. We are planning for critical changes in how we do business in the weeks and months ahead. As a result of this PSNI may not be able to meet statutory timescales in responding to FOI and data protection requests. We apologise for this and would ask those who wish to make freedom of Information or data protection requests to consider submitting them at a later date to allow PSNI to concentrate as much resource on responding to this emergency.
We understand at this vital time the importance of timely and transparent information being provided to the public. We are working to support partner agencies to ensure information is available to the public during this time and we are working closely with our front line colleagues in dealing with this current health emergency. We have been in contact with the Information Commissioner’s Office who has issued guidance for the public in relation to requests made during the pandemic. This information is available on their website at https://ico.org.uk/.
We are continually working to develop a culture of greater openness and we are making more information on policing available than ever before.
The Freedom of Information Act is intended to create better public understanding of:
- How public authorities carry out their duties
- Why they make their decisions
- How they spend public money
Under the Act, public authorities are obliged to make information available through the implementation of two key tools:
- PSNI Publication Scheme and
- General Right of Access.
PSNI Publication Scheme
A publication scheme sets out the type of recorded information that a public authority should make routinely available. The information should be easy for the authority and any individual to find and use. The Information Commissioner's Office in consultation with the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) has issued a 'Classes of Information' definition document for a new Model Publication Scheme for all 44 police services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. PSNI currently follows this model publication scheme.
All information on the publication scheme is free to access and use, however a small fee may be charged should you request any of the information in hardcopy. You will be informed if there are any charges prior to release of the information. Read more about our publication scheme and charges. Also, please respect our copyright.
General Right of Access
If the information you seek is not available via our publication scheme or the PSNI website you can make an application via Right of Access. Find out more about Right of Access including how to make an application here.
Subject Access Requests Under The Data Protection Act
Please note that the Freedom of Information Act is essentially about non-personal information. If you are seeking information of a personal nature the request should be made under the Data Protection Act. It provides access to individual enquirers to information held on them. This is known as Subject Access. It covers requests for personal information for employment, emigration purposes as well as information in respect of incidents brought to the attention of police involving the application. Further information, including an application form, is available on the Subject Access page.