Freedom of Information (FOI)

Cheshire Constabulary and the Freedom of Information

This provides individuals the right of access to all information held by Cheshire Constabulary, subject to a range of exemptions.

Information disclosed under Freedom of Information is released into the public domain and not just to applicant.

Cheshire Constabulary is obliged to publish certain information and statistics that have been agreed with the Information Commissioner and provide a detailed guide as to how the published information may be accessed.

These are called Classes of Information and include:

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Lists and registers
  • Services provided by the Police Force

In addition, Cheshire Constabulary has proactively published a large amount of information on this website already through its extensive logs of previous Freedom of Information requests.

Before applying for a Freedom of Information request, please look through the information provided on this website to see if your question can be answered.

If your question is still not answered, you may wish to submit a Freedom of Information request.

Please also note that Freedom of Information requests that relate specifically to the applicant, i.e. personal data, is automatically exempt under the Freedom of Information Act and will become a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was implemented on January 1, 2005 and covers all information held by public authorities.

The purpose of the Act is to make bodies such as the police service more accountable to those that fund them and to make public authorities more transparent to members of the general public.

Under FOI, there is an obligation for publicly funded bodies to consider requests for information and to provide a response under the terms of the legislation. There is a presumption of disclosure unless the authority can demonstrate the harm in release.

Under the Act, public authorities are obliged to make information available through the implementation of two key tools:

  • Offering a general right of access to members of the public who wish to submit an Freedom of Information request.
  • The publication of certain types of information as directed by the Information Commissioner. This Model Publication Scheme, which includes details of Cheshire Constabulary’s aims and priorities, structure, budgets and expenses, key personnel, policies and procedures and services provided can be found in Classes of Information. A summary of the information and where to find can be found in the Guide to Published Information.

How to obtain information under the Freedom of Information Act

For a request to be valid under the Freedom of Information Act, the following criteria must be met:

  • The request must be made in writing
  • Must have a full contact name
  • It can be made by email, letter or fax.
  • It must contain a return address (this can be an email address)
  • It must clearly identify the information being sought
  • It must be legible
  • It must contain details of the format you would like the information to be sent to you (e.g. via email, hard copy).

Cheshire Constabulary is under a duty to provide advice and assistance to anyone seeking information.

The Act also places a duty on public authorities to respond to Freedom of Information applicants within 20 working days of receiving the original request. If we are unable to respond in full by this date we will write to you to advise when you can expect a response from us.

Contact Details

To make a request by letter, write to:

Freedom of Information Officer,
Cheshire Constabulary Headquarters,
Clemonds Hey,
Oakmere Road,
Winsford,
CW7 2UA

To make a request by email: foi@cheshire.pnn.police.uk

To make a request by fax: 01606 364133

The Constabulary's hours of business:

  • Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm
  • Friday 9am to 4.30pm

Requests received outside of these hours will be dealt with the next working day

Appeals and Reviews

Internal reviews: If as a result of our response to an individuals FOI request, the requestor is unhappy with the response, the requestor may ask that we review our response. To that aim we have set out our Appeals Procedure.

Please note that if you are requesting details of information held about yourself by Cheshire Constabulary (i.e. your personal data) this will be passed to the Data Protection Unit for consideration under the Data Protection Act.

They will send you a Subject Access Application Form. There is a fee of £10 for this process and you will be required to show two forms of identification.

General Right of Access - what Cheshire Constabulary is required to provide

The Freedom of Information Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities subject to the application of exemptions contained within the Act.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, a public authority must consider all requests for recorded information it receives and must:

  • Inform the applicant whether the information is held
  • Supply the requested information subject to the application of exemptions contained within the Act.

This general right of access is afforded to anybody anywhere in the world.

The Freedom of Information Act is fully retrospective and covers all information held in a recorded format. The deadline for a public authority to respond to requests is 20 working days, although there are some circumstances where this may be extended under the terms of the legislation.

Cheshire Constabulary is committed to disclosing as much information as possible under the Freedom of Information Act, subject to the application of exemptions contained within the Act.

You can find Cheshire Constabulary’s Popular Freedom of Information requests as well as a searchable Archive of Freedom of Information requests on this website.

Information about police investigations

Police investigations are conducted with due regard to the confidentiality and privacy of victims, witnesses and suspects.

Such investigations may also frequently involve the use of policing tactics or techniques that, if widely known, would hinder the ability of the police service to prevent and detect crime. It is further recognised that the release of information concerning current investigations may compromise any subsequent court proceedings.

For these reasons the police service will, in most cases, seek to apply an exemption to prevent the release of information concerning investigations when requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Whilst adopting this general position, there is full recognition that in some cases there will be significant and compelling issues of public interest that require the disclosure of information. However, to override issues of personal privacy and possible harm to individuals involved in the investigation, this public interest must be significantly more than mere curiosity or interest in a particular investigation.

In order to ensure that these public interest issues are fully considered, all applications for information concerning investigations will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

Cheshire Constabulary’s philosophy and approach to the Freedom of Information Act

Cheshire Constabulary is committed to delivering an open and transparent service whenever possible and it is our intention to publish information on our publication scheme that the public has an interest in viewing.

However, this must be balanced against the need of the constabulary to fulfil its core function of law enforcement - preventing and detecting crime and protecting life and/or property. As such, it must be recognised that there is no public interest in the publication of certain information since this will compromise the force's ability to enforce the law.

Although Cheshire Constabulary is obliged to review all Freedom of Information requests on a case-by-case basis, sensitive information - such as ongoing investigations, intelligence and the use of related operational techniques - must be protected. These are fundamental to the maintenance of a just and safe society. With this in mind, Cheshire Constabulary will, when appropriate, apply reasonable consideration to the use of key exemptions.

Cheshire Constabulary follows the processes and guidance laid out in the Association of Chief Police Officers’ National Manual of Guidance for the Police Service.

Cheshire Constabulary also follows the guidelines contained within its own Freedom of Information Procedure and has also a Guide to Published Information which details what information we have published on this website and where to find it.

FOI Act statistics for Cheshire Constabulary

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Totals
2005 27 24 25 21 14 17 16 16 15 24 19 13 231
2006 23 13 24 15 33 20 32 23 34 30 45 30 322
2007 38 44 43 34 36 37 39 31 40 43 46 29 460
2008 54 53 42 47 37 56 48 44 60 40 43 35 559
2009 71 64 70 51 46 64 71 50 48 49 75 43 702
2010 49 47 53 43 39 45 61 50 44 42 58 32 563
2011 52 68 58 52 64 64 50 61 59 53 60 40 681
2012 79 55 58 54 63 58 56 54 52 56 69 36 690
2013 78 61 62 70 81 60 83 62 56 95 81 57 846
2014 100                       100

Freedom of Information reviews

Year Number of reviews
2005 0
2006 2
2007 8
2008 5
2009 15
2010 17
2011 10
2012 8
2013 22
2014 0

Appeals to the Information Commissioner

Appeals to Information Tribunal