Making a Freedom of Information Request

Please click here to read our privacy notice in relqation to COVID-19​

Due to the Coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic and the  changing circumstances  for all, the Unit must prioritise essential safeguarding work for the  health and social care sector, and also for the Family Court. Delays in  other areas are likely to occur and may fall outside any statutory or  other expected timescales. We apologise for any inconvenience this may  cause, we will of course endeavour to process your request as soon as  practicable. If your request is not urgent or can be retracted at any  stage, please let us know as soon as possible via our published email  addresses. From 5th January 2021, the majority of our staff are working from home due to the lockdown position and we will only have very limited numbers of staff in the Office occasionally and we will  therefore not be able to regularly collect correspondence sent via post. We thank  you for your understanding and support and wish you and your family well  during these uncertain times.


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
  • It can be made by letter, fax or email
  • It must contain a return address (this can be an email address)
  • It must clearly identify the information being sought
  • It must be legible
  • Can be made from anywhere in the world
  • Can be made by an individual or an organisation

To be valid under the Freedom of Information Act, requests do not:

  •  Have to be written on a special form
  •  Need to mention the Act
  •  Need to refer to 'Freedom of Information' in any way.

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




 General Advice on Making a Request under the Freedom of Information Act


• Be specific by identifying the exact information you require. This will mean that your request is less likely to be refused on cost grounds.
• Ensure you include a relevant time frame for example specific years.
• Some information may already be published on our Disclosure Log, website or other official website, for example the Home Office.
• When requesting general statistics please be aware of the different systems used to report incidents and crimes. An incident is a report of communication with the police. Not all incidents will therefore be crimes, An offence is a crime or illegal act. Notifiable offences are those offences required for statistical purposes by the Home Office.


Handling Freedom of Information Requests:


Requests for information will be considered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  An Applicant will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.  In some circumstances Durham Constabulary may be unable to achieve this deadline.  If this is likely, an Applicant will be informed and given a revised timescale at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information you requested.  If this is the case, an Applicant will be informed and the 20 day working timescale will be suspended until payment is received.  If an Applicant chooses not to make payment then the request will remain unanswered.

Some requests may also require full or partial transference to another public authority in order to answer queries in the fullest possible way.  Again, an Applicant will be informed if this is the case.



Contact Details:
Requests made to Durham Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act should be in writing (via email) to:


At this moment in time we are unable to collect any correspondance sent to us by post, as such this method of contacting us is unavailable at this time.

Complaint Rights:


If an Applicant is unhappy with how a request has been handled or think the decision is incorrect, they have the right to require Durham Constabulary to review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint, an Applicant is welcomed and encouraged to discuss the decision with the case officer who dealt with the request.


Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of the decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and assist with any problems.



If an Applicant is dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of Durham Constabulary made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 regarding access to information, they can lodge a complaint with Durham Constabulary to have the decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing (via email) to:

At this moment in time we are unable to collect any correspondance sent to us by post, as such this method of contacting us is unavailable at this time.

The Information Commissioner:

If, after lodging a complaint with Durham Constabulary, an Applicant is still dissatisfied with the decision, they may make application to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (2000).

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner, please visit their website at Alternatively, phone or write to:

Please see the ICO website for details of how to contact them:

Telephone: 0303 1231113