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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 information.

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 an FOI 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 require.

We are unable to accept requests made by mobile phone text message.

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 part.

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 Commissioner’s website.

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:

Information Officer
Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Information Management
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 [email protected]

Our response

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).

Publication schemes

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 website.

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 publication scheme.

  • Who we are and what we do
  • Accounts, payments & gifts
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Police integrity & conduct
  • The services we offer

We’ve also put together a number of links to other websites for more information about policing in the UK.

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