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BCH publication scheme

The Freedom of Information Act requires all public authorities to maintain a publication scheme that sets out our commitment to make certain classes of information routinely available to the public.

The scheme outlined herein follows the publication scheme model (opens in a new window) provided by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and denotes the aspects of information BCH are committed to routinely and proactively publish via force websites and/or otherwise can make available upon request.

The information BCH releases in accordance to this scheme represents the minimum we must disclose, including information disclosed in response to freedom of information (FOI) requests. Where a member of the public requests information not listed within this scheme, they can still ask us for it. If unsure whether to disclose unlisted information, please refer to guidance set by the ICO (opens in a new window).

Certain information is restricted and therefore exempt from this publication scheme.

1. Publication scheme purpose

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are committed to being open and transparent wherever possible and is our intention to publish information that is of public interest. BCH’s publication scheme is to allow the public to understand what information our forces hold and make it easy for them to access.

The law details that our publication scheme must:

  • list the classes of information we publish, or intend to publish
  • specify how we publish each class of information, and
  • note if information is free of charge or if there will be a cost to obtain it.

Although transparency is key, BCH are dedicated to protecting the communities we serve by preventing and detecting crime and it must be understood that certain information will not be disclosed.

2. Information that will not be disclosed

Information concerning ongoing investigations, investigative methods, intelligence and the use of related operational techniques must be protected. These are all central to enable the maintenance of a safe and just society across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

Where and when appropriate, the three forces will apply reasonable consideration when refraining from publishing any material deemed exempt under this publication scheme as agreeable under the Freedom of Information Act (opens in a new window), under sections 30, 31 and 41 of the act.

3. Freedom of Information (FOI)

3.1 Frequency of FOI and disclosure publications The frequency of publishing via BCH force websites is as follows;

  • Freedom of information weekly on a Friday.

The frequency in which information is published on force websites is maintained by BCH Information Rights Department. The department are also responsible for ensuring information is;

  • regulated appropriately by the standards set within this scheme and aligned to the ICO model
  • duly encrypted of personal data by ‘blacking out’ such information before publication
  • separately identifiable to relevant force
  • separately identifiable as individual documents, per FOI request response
  • forwarded by email in PDF format for publication.

3.2 Information classes

The classes of information listed below are designed to inform the public about the types of information BCH publish, or intend to publish, online.

Information classes
Information class Cost Frequency
Organisational - includes locations, contacts, constitutional and legal governance. Free of charge. Available upon request.
Financial - projected and actual income, expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts. Free of charge.
  • Statement of accounts – annually.
  • Payments over £500 – monthly.
  • Gender pay gap – annually.
  • Executive salaries – annually.
  • Trade union time return – annually.
Strategy and performance - includes plans, assessments, inspections and reviews. Free of charge. Annually.
Policies and procedures - current protocols for delivering police functions and responsibilities. Free of charge. Available upon request.
Information sharing agreements Charge to be determined upon request Available upon request.
Information registers - held in registers required by law and other lists or registers relating to the functions of any BCH force authority. Charge to be determined upon request Available upon request.
Media contacts – senior officer contacts with journalists. Free of charge. Monthly.
Services - provided by BCH forces. Free of charge. Freely available via force websites.
Printed materials - guidance, booklets, leaflets or other printed materials detailing services offered. Other information that incur disbursements such as photocopying, postage and packaging or costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information. Charge to be determined upon request Available upon request.
Freedom of Information responses Free of charge. Weekly.
Stop and search data Free of charge.
  • Quarterly information freely available via force websites.
  • Annual overview available on data.police.uk
Crime data Free of charge.
  • Freely available via force websites.
  • Annual overview available on data.police.uk.
Safety camera data – offence data and safety camera locations Free of charge. Annual information freely available via force websites.

3.3 Charging for information requests Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are required to provide details of information that are subject to a financial cost payable by the requester.

Any costs associated with an information request will be identifiable prior to any submission being received by the three forces.

All chargeable information is periodically reviewed.

3.4 Exempt information Classes of information will not include disclosure of information that is;

  • prevented by law or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or otherwise considered to be protected from disclosure
  • in draft form
  • no longer available.

4. Press releases

It must be noted that press releasesissued by BCH Corporate Communications departments are freely available via force websites. However, where a press release is no longer available via force websites, a charge for providing such information may be incurred.

The publication of press releases are managed by BCH forces Corporate Communications departments, who must comply with the Contempt of Court and Human Rights Acts when using multimedia containing anyone from the general public. There is a legal duty on forces to manage images in an appropriate way that does not impede the justice process or deny missing people their right to privacy once found.

Adherence to the maintenance and publication allowances of press releases, aligned to the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP), must be followed by BCH Communications staff and web managers across BCH.

Where multimedia is used within BCH websites or official social media accounts relating to CCTV, wanted or missing people, images or video must be promptly reviewed and/or removed from public consumption every 30 days.

If in doubt about the use of any multimedia, it will be removed until confirmation is received that it can be reinstated. The decision to continue to show an image should be considered in conjunction with national media guidance by Heads of Departments.

5. Other publications available online

As BCH are determined to show transparency, we endeavour to provide regular information that is of interest to the public in order to:

  • deter the number of regular or repeat FOI requests received
  • reduce the demand on the Information Rights Department. The additional information BCH intend to publish via force websites are;
  • Equal opportunities information, such as employee statistics of black and minority ethnicity (BME) data
  • Employed officers and police staff statistics
  • Misconduct information
  • Gifts and hospitality
  • Pay scales for officers, staff and seniors
  • Fees and services charges (e.g. policing an event)
  • Complaints and compliments statistics
    • Percentage statistics of resolved complaints within and outside set time frames
  • CCTV locations monitored and managed by BCH forces
  • ANPR data
  • Unlawful vehicle related statistics:
    • Speeding vehicles
    • Unlicensed vehicles
    • Uninsured vehicles
    • Untaxed vehicles
    • Un-roadworthy vehicles
    • Wanted vehicles.

6. How the public access information

Anyone can access and search Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire or Hertfordshire information via each force website. Requests for information can be made online, by telephone or in writing.BCH Publication Scheme Version 1.6 July 2018

6.1 Online information requests Information can be searched by keyword or by using the filters. Members of the public are advised to search published FOI requests using force websites, before submitting a request. If a member of the public is unable to find the information they require, they can submit a request online.

6.2 Information requests by phone or post Although online is our preferred method of contact for the public to utilise via our force websites, anyone may submit a request for information by calling or writing to us.

Bedfordshire Police address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

Cambridgeshire Constabulary address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
c/o Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

Hertfordshire Constabulary address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
c/o Hertfordshire Constabulary
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

If it is at all possible to notify the requester prior to their information request being submitted by phone or post, we should ask the requester to include the following details to help us handle the enquiry;

  • their name and address
  • their email and phone number
  • details of the information or documents they want to access
  • confirm how they want the information to be sent to them, for example by post or email. 

7. Processing information requests

All information requests received by BCH are sent an acknowledgement, with a reference number. Information Rights Department typically manage all information requests and will contact the requester should any additional clarification be needed to enable them to proceed with the request. BCH usually responds to all acceptable information requests within 20 working days and are handled in accordance with Authorised Professional Practice (APP) Manual of Guidance on FOI handling (opens in a new window).

8. Appeals against a BCH publication

Should a member of the public be unhappy with a BCH response to an FOI request, in the first instance we would ask the person to discuss it with the Information Rights Practitioner who handled the request.

On an occasion where a member of the public is unhappy with the resolve attempt with an Information Rights Practitioner, members of the public are advised to contact the Information Rights Department with the following detail to support their appeal request;

  • why they are unhappy with the information they have or haven’t received, or
  • why they are unhappy with the decision made against their request
  • their name and address
  • details of the appeal

Appeal details are to be sent to their relevant force address;

Bedfordshire Police address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

Cambridgeshire Constabulary address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
c/o Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

Hertfordshire Constabulary address

Freedom of Information
Information Rights
Bedfordshire Police HQ
c/o Hertfordshire Constabulary
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedfordshire
MK43 9AX

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