St Albans Council are one of an increasing number of public bodies to complain about Freedom of Information requests. In calculating the cost to the body of a quarter of a million pounds every year, they said that over one in ten requests come from the Metropolitan Police.
But Tim Turner was skeptical. So he asked how many of the police requests actually mentioned FOI. They avoided the question:
“St Albans drew my attention to a section on the Information Commissioner’s website which says that any request for information that is plainly not an EIR or a subject access request should be treated as an FOI.”
The implication being that routine requests for information from other public bodies may be being classified as ‘FOI’ as a way of inflating costs and supporting the case against it – even where they would previously just be routine.
Turner then asked specifically how many of those police requests were made under the Data Protection Act:
“They admitted that all of them were“.