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Police force refers itself to UK information watchdog over 200 unanswered FOI requests

A police force has referred itself to the UK’s information watchdog over its failure to answer hundreds of freedom of information requests dating as far back as October last year.

Devon and Cornwall Police told ITV West Country it had “self-referred” to the Information Commissioner’s Office on 2 January over its “compliance rates” under the Freedom of Information Act.

The force confirmed to Press Gazette that it had 205 FOI requests that were still open, 95 of which had passed the 20-working day limit to respond.

Journalists frequently use FOI requests to obtain information that might otherwise not be published by public authorities. FOI law does not apply to private companies.

A website that tracks and holds information on FOI requests shows several long overdue responses from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

An ICO spokesperson said: “Devon and Cornwall police have made us aware of some delays in processing FOI requests. We are keeping the existing situation under review as we would with any public authority.”

Press Gazette understands that financial penalties would not apply in the force’s case.

Picture: Shutterstock

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