The number of cars owned by your force (968.2016-17)
1) The number of cars owned by your force
2) A breakdown of the make and models of the cars owned by your force including quantity and how many are unmarked (registration numbers not necessary)
3) I want to know through which auction companies are decommissioned police cars from your force sold through and when the contract with each of these company/company’s began and is due to expire (can you specify all the companies (branch including) if vehicles are disposed through different sites)
4) Can you also supply information about which auctions previously disposed of vehicles from your force
5) Your forces policy/criteria on deciding when a vehicle should be decommissioned / disposed of
6) Finally I would like to know the number of cars that your force has disposed of since the beginning of 2016
Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information
To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within North Yorkshire Police.
I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by North Yorkshire Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you.
Q1. The total number of vehicles owned by North Yorkshire Police is 392, which includes 113 unmarked vehicles. I have excluded any specialist and covert vehicles which are exempt under Section 31(1)(a) Law Enforcement. Please see the exemption explanation below.
Q2. Please find below the make and model of the vehicles owned by North Yorkshire Police.
As stated above, I am exempting details of any specialist and covert vehicles pursuant to section 31(1)(a) Law Enforcement. Please see the exemption explanation below.
Q3. The auction companies used by North Yorkshire Police for decommissioned police cars are BCA – Blackwater, Camberley and Brightwells – LEOMINSTER Herefordshire.
Q4. Previous auction details for the disposal of vehicles were Manheim, Washington Tyne & Wear, which was over 10 years ago.
Q5. North Yorkshire Police follow a whole life vehicle costing model and a 5 year rolling replacement plan.
Q6. North Yorkshire Police have disposed of 102 vehicles.
Section 31 – Law Enforcement
Section 31 is a prejudice-based qualified exemption and there is a requirement to articulate the harm as well as carrying out a public interest test.
Evidence of Harm
As you may be aware, disclosure under FOIA is a release to the public at large. Whilst not questioning the motives of the applicant, releasing any information held regarding specialist vehicles, such as Armed Response Vehicles and unmarked vehicles, would allow criminals to note any tactical capabilities the force had, allowing them to target specific areas of the UK to conduct their criminal/terrorist activities. This would lead to an increase in harm of attacks and compromise Law Enforcement. This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to all members of the public.
The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored. It is generally recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable. Since 2006, the UK Government have published the threat level, based upon current intelligence.
Releasing this type of information would limit operational capabilities as criminals/terrorists would gain a greater understanding of the police’s resources, enabling them to take steps to counter them. It may also suggest the limitations of police capabilities in this area, which may further encourage criminal/terrorist activity by exposing potential vulnerabilities. This detrimental effect is increased if the request is made to several different law enforcement bodies.
Information that undermines the operational integrity of the police will adversely affect public safety and have a negative impact on both national security and law enforcement.
Factors favouring disclosure under Section 31
Releasing information held relating to specialist vehicles and unmarked vehicles would provide an insight into the police resources and enable the public to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the police.
It would show how public funds are being spent in relation to protecting the public.
Information would ensure transparency and accountability and enable the public to see what tactics are deployed by the Police Service to tackle/assist in fighting crime.
Factors against disclosure under Section 31
It has been recorded that FOIA releases are monitored by criminals and terrorists and so releasing information held regarding specialist vehicles and unmarked vehicles would undermine and compromise law enforcement and it would also hinder any local, regional or national operations.
It can be argued that there are significant risks associated with providing information in relation to any aspects that can assist criminal planning and that any nation’s security arrangements, by releasing the information, may reveal the relative vulnerability of what we may be trying to protect.
The Police Service would not wish to reveal what resources they may or may not have, as this would undermine the law enforcement operations and would impact on police resources, as more crime would be committed because criminals/terrorists would know which forces had less/more capability. This in turn would place the public at a greater risk and a fear of crime would be realised, especially for more vulnerable areas.
The security of the country is of paramount importance and the Police service will not divulge the operational resources, if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk, undermine National Security or compromise law enforcement.
Whilst there is a public interest in the transparency of policing resources and providing assurance that the police service is appropriately prepared and effectively engaging with the threat posed by various groups or individuals, there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding the integrity of police resources and operations in the highly sensitive areas such as extremism, crime prevention, public disorder and terrorism prevention.
As much as there is public interest in knowing that policing activity is appropriate and balanced this will only be overridden in exceptional circumstances. It is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test for exempting your request for planning information is not made out.
Pursuant to Section 17(1) of the Act this letter acts as a Refusal Notice in response to your request.
Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.Last modified: March 29, 2017