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What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities (subject to the application of certain exemptions contained within the Act). The Act also requires public authorities to establish a Publication Scheme, to specify the classes of information they already publish or intend to publish. Our intention is to publish as much information as possible on subjects where there is known to be public interest. However, exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act may prevent some information from being released.

Select here for frequently asked questions on Freedom of Information.

Due to the Coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic and the changing circumstances for all, whilst we will make every effort to respond within statutory timescales, the Unit must prioritise essential safeguarding work necessary to protect the public and this may cause some delays in other areas. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, and 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. We understand that the delivery of your rights is important and thank you for your understanding and support during these uncertain times.

For more information, please read Data protection and coronavirus information published by the Information Commissioner's Office.

What information can be requested?

The Freedom of Information Act gives rights of access to any kind of information which is not personal or environmental information, subject to a number of exemptions.

Making a Freedom of Information request

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.

Due to unforeseen and exceptional circumstances within the department, it is likely that requests submitted may not receive a response within the prescribed limit as set by the Act. We are working to resolve this temporary issue and hope to resume a full service as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Send your request to: 

The Information Rights and Disclosure Unit
Digital Data & Technology Command
Police Headquarters
Aykley Heads

Telephone: 0191 375 2582

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.