Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act is designed to encourage public
organisations to be more open.
It came into force in January 2005 and allows anyone, no matter
who they are or where they live, to make a request for
The act works in conjunction with the Data Protection Act. This
means only information found to be suitable for public knowledge
can be released.
FOI legislation relates to the organisation and how it
works, rather than individuals who come into contact with
it. Disclosures relating to individuals fall under the
Data Protection Legislation.
Making a request
You can make a freedom of information request, also known as an
FOI request, using our online form or by letter, fax or e-mail.
Requests do not have to mention the act or follow any specific
guidelines but they must be legible and include your name and
address and a detailed description of what information you
We are unable to accept requests made by mobile phone text
Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply
within 20 working days. The Act does not specify a limit to
the number of information requests a public authority may receive
or the number of requests or questions an applicant may
submit. However, there are exemptions in the Act that can
apply and these include where the cost of complying with the
request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit, (currently
18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature.
Requests that ask a great many questions, seek opinions, or a
number of detailed requests submitted at the same time, may make it
necessary for Essex Police to refuse the requests wholly or in
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility
for providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they
have produced advice for applicants on submitting effective
requests. Further information can be found on the
Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be
available from Essex Police.
You should send your request to:
Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Information
Essex Police, PO Box 2
Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6DA
We do our best to help people who are not able to submit their
own written requests. If you require assistance please call 01245
452647 and ask to speak to an Information Officer.
You can also contact us by fax on 01245 452256 or e-mail
Once we have received your request we have twenty working days
in which to respond. However this can be extended in certain
circumstances where the public interest is being considered.
A request can be rejected on the basis that it will be too
costly to process if it is anticipated that the time spent to
locate and collate the information required will exceed 18 hours of
work (e.g, two and a half working days).
The Freedom of Information Act requires Essex Police to tell you
about some of the information we hold.
Guidelines set by the Information Commissioner’s Office outline
the sorts of information we should provide to you on our
This means you might find the information you’re looking for
without having to make a Freedom of Information Request.
To help you find the answer to your question we’ve set up a
number of quick links explaining who we are, what we do, what we
spend and our priorities and procedures. This is known as a
We’ve also put together a number of links to other websites for more information
about policing in the UK.