When will you refuse a request or withhold information?
We will make the information you request available unless there is a reason why we are unable to do so (for example, the information isn’t held or can’t be found or doesn’t exist) or there is ‘good reason’ for withholding it. Administrative reasons for refusing requests are set out in Section 18 of the Official Information Act 1982
Good reasons for withholding information are also specified in the legislation (sections 6 and 9). They apply when release would harm a protected interest such as the maintenance of the law, personal privacy, confidentiality, or commercial interests.
Some reasons for withholding are subject to a ‘public interest test’ [section 9(1)]. As part of our decision on your request we will consider whether there are public interest considerations that mean we should release the information. We will balance the public interest against the harm that we see from release of the information. If the public interest is greater than the harm we see, then we will release the information.
If you are requesting information about someone else (i.e. a third party) or other sensitive information, Police needs to consider whether disclosure of the information is authorised or in the public interest - the request for information is likely to be refused if you do not provide the signed consent of the person concerned (including evidence of his or her identity), or evidence of relationship, or reasons for the request.
When we refuse your request or withhold information, we will tell you which part of the OIA applies.