Police pursuit policy and statistics follow-up

Mark Hanna made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

Response to this request is long overdue. By law New Zealand Police should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

Thank you for your response yesterday to my OIA request on pursuit policy and statistics (AF Number 16/7758/13). I’ve been looking through the information released and I have some follow-up questions I hope you’ll be able to help me with.

1. The spreadsheet lists no offender deaths during July 2017, but there were media reports of a motorcyclist who died in a police pursuit in July 2017 in Māngere: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/articl...

Is there any particular reason why this death was not included in the spreadsheet, and are there likely to be other similar deaths that have been excluded?

2. Since sending the request last month, I’ve realised that I worded part of it poorly. In asking that injuries and deaths be broken down by offenders and police, I neglected to ask about injuries and deaths of bystanders.

In the IPCA’s report on their 2009 review of police pursuits they reported that, from 19 December 2003 to 19 December 2008, three innocent members of the public died in police pursuits, 18 were seriously injured, and 29 suffered minor injuries. In that period, that amounted to 14% of deaths, 25% of all serious injuries, and 29% of minor injuries. So I am now concerned that the way I worded my request may potentially have excluded a significant number of injuries and deaths.

Though I had intended that parts 4a and 5a would each cover all injuries and all deaths, given the breakdown I had requested I can understand why it was interpreted to only include injuries and deaths of offenders and police.

Could you please provide the equivalent statistics for injuries and deaths to bystanders in pursuits, and any other relevant categories of person that I may have missed, for the same period?

3. In my request I had asked that Police “Please provide all information in an accessible, searchable format” and that Police advise “the licence under which [this information] is released”. However, the response letter sent to me was not provided in an accessible, searchable format, and the response did not mention any licence under which the information was released.

I would appreciate it if you would advise me of the licence under which this information has been released, and send me a copy of the response letter in an accessible, searchable format. Image-based PDFs are inherently inaccessible, and their use makes the OIA significantly less accessible to people who rely on a screen reader.

Though Section 16(2) of the OIA requires that agencies release information in the way preferred by the requester unless there is a good reason not to do so, it should be considered good practice to use accessible formats by default and I would recommend NZ Police review their practices in this area. In recent months I have emailed the Minister for Disability Issues about this issue, and she responded with the message that “Providing OIA responses in accessible format should be standard practice as part of an open and transparent government”.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

This is a link to the original request: https://fyi.org.nz/request/7257-police-p...

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From: TALAGI, Salote
New Zealand Police


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Dear Mark Hanna

 

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information relating to pursuit
policy and statistics, received by Police.  Your request will be dealt
with under the Official Information Act 1982.

 

Regards,

 

Salote Talagi

Ministerial Services

 

E  [1][email address]

 

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This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

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From: TALAGI, Salote
New Zealand Police


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Attachment Hanna Mark 16 7758 14 Pursuit data.xlsx
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Good afternoon

 

Attached is a response to your Official Information Act request of 20
March 2018.

 

 

Kind regards

 

Salote Talagi

Ministerial Services

 

E  [1][email address]     

 

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

Thank you for your response to my request yesterday. However, it looks like both part 3 of my request and the concern I raised regarding the accessibility of the response letter have been ignored.

I had asked that Police provide the licence under which the information from my previous request was released, but this has not been provided. I also explicitly requested that Police send me a copy of the previous request's response letter in an accessible, searchable format.

Neither of these things have been sent, and the response letter to this request was sent using the same inaccessible format that I specifically asked Police not to use. As I explained earlier, image-based PDFs are inherently inaccessible, and their use makes the OIA significantly less accessible to people who rely on a screen reader.

Though Section 16(2) of the OIA requires that agencies release information in the way preferred by the requester unless there is a good reason not to do so, it should be considered good practice to use accessible formats by default and I would recommend NZ Police review their practices in this area. In recent months I have emailed the Minister for Disability Issues about this issue, and she responded with the message that “Providing OIA responses in accessible format should be standard practice as part of an open and transparent government”.

Please send through the remaining information that I have requested, and an accessible copy of the response letter to this request. If a decision has been made to refuse this part of my request, or to not provide information in the format I have requested, the OIA requires that I be told the reasons for this.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: Mark Hanna

Tēnā koe,

It has now been over a month since I reiterated my request that Police provide the licence under which the information from my previous request was released, and for an accessible copy of the previous request's response letter. I have still had no further communication from Police regarding this matter.

Both of these should have been sent to me as part of the original response to my previous request, which I received over two months ago on 2018-03-19. I have also not received an accessible copy of the most recent response letter, which I requested over 20 working days ago on 2018-04-19.

Please send this overdue information immediately. I intend to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman regarding the inadequate response I have received from NZ Police.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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From: Mark Hanna

Kia ora,

Sorry, I had assumed that since I was replying to a thread of emails about this request that the context would be clear. Looks like I was wrong about that. The reference for the previous request I am referring to is 16/7758/13, and the reference for this request is 16/7758/14.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

I have lodged the following complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman:

==========

Tēnā koe,

As I have previously discussed with Gareth Derby of the Office of the Ombudsman earlier this year, I am interested in improving accessibility practices across the public sector when it comes to the release of official information. As part of this, I have been including the following text (or equivalent) in all of my recent requests for official information:

“Please provide all information in an accessible, searchable format. A spreadsheet format, such as CSV or XLSX, is preferable for tabular data.”

As well as release tabular data in an inaccessible format, I have found it is common that response letters detailing the decision an agency has made on an OIA request to be sent in an inaccessible image-based PDF format. I have been hoping that including this text in my requests would have made it clear that inaccessible formats such as these should, wherever possible, not be used in response to my requests.

I have also been asking agencies for the licence under which information is released, as I have been told various private sector organisations cannot easily use released information if a licence is not made explicit. I have been including this text in my recent requests:

“Please also explain any relevant caveats that should be kept in mind when analysing this information, including the licence under which it is released.”

Though I have included these in several requests, no agency has yet told me what licence information has been released under, and in many cases the response letter has been sent in an inaccessible format. I have also, on occasion, been sent PDFs of tables and had to ask agencies again to send them through as a spreadsheet.

Unfortunately, I think in many cases my full request is being stripped down to just the questions I have numbered (something I do for the convenience of the person working on my request) and the extra things I have asked for are being lost in this process.

I would like to lodge a formal complaint regarding how NZ Police have responded to two related OIA requests of mine. In February, I sent a request containing the aforementioned wording, asking for information regarding pursuit policy and statistics.

The information I had requested was released, but it was accompanied by an inaccessible image-based PDF response letter and the licence was not mentioned. In a follow-up request I sent the day after receiving the response, I asked several follow-up questions, including the following:

“3. In my request I had asked that Police “Please provide all information in an accessible, searchable format” and that Police advise “the licence under which [this information] is released”. However, the response letter sent to me was not provided in an accessible, searchable format, and the response did not mention any licence under which the information was released.

I would appreciate it if you would advise me of the licence under which this information has been released, and send me a copy of the response letter in an accessible, searchable format. Image-based PDFs are inherently inaccessible, and their use makes the OIA significantly less accessible to people who rely on a screen reader.”

In April, Police sent through answers to my other questions, but they ignored that part of my request. The response letter that they sent was also in the same inaccessible image-based PDF format. The day after receiving the response, I sent the following reply:

“Tēnā koe,

Thank you for your response to my request yesterday. However, it looks like both part 3 of my request and the concern I raised regarding the accessibility of the response letter have been ignored.

I had asked that Police provide the licence under which the information from my previous request was released, but this has not been provided. I also explicitly requested that Police send me a copy of the previous request's response letter in an accessible, searchable format.

Neither of these things have been sent, and the response letter to this request was sent using the same inaccessible format that I specifically asked Police not to use. As I explained earlier, image-based PDFs are inherently inaccessible, and their use makes the OIA significantly less accessible to people who rely on a screen reader.

Though Section 16(2) of the OIA requires that agencies release information in the way preferred by the requester unless there is a good reason not to do so, it should be considered good practice to use accessible formats by default and I would recommend NZ Police review their practices in this area. In recent months I have emailed the Minister for Disability Issues about this issue, and she responded with the message that “Providing OIA responses in accessible format should be standard practice as part of an open and transparent government”.

Please send through the remaining information that I have requested, and an accessible copy of the response letter to this request. If a decision has been made to refuse this part of my request, or to not provide information in the format I have requested, the OIA requires that I be told the reasons for this.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna”

Over a month passed with no response, after which I sent the following:

“Tēnā koe,

It has now been over a month since I reiterated my request that Police provide the licence under which the information from my previous request was released, and for an accessible copy of the previous request's response letter. I have still had no further communication from Police regarding this matter.

Both of these should have been sent to me as part of the original response to my previous request, which I received over two months ago on 2018-03-19. I have also not received an accessible copy of the most recent response letter, which I requested over 20 working days ago on 2018-04-19.

Please send this overdue information immediately. I intend to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman regarding the inadequate response I have received from NZ Police.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna”

I received a response on 2018-05-22 saying they did not have enough information to identify the requests I was asking about, so I immediately sent the following:

“Kia ora,

Sorry, I had assumed that since I was replying to a thread of emails about this request that the context would be clear. Looks like I was wrong about that. The reference for the previous request I am referring to is 16/7758/13, and the reference for this request is 16/7758/14.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna”

It has now been two weeks since I sent that message and I have received no further response from NZ Police.

The grounds of my complaint are:

1. NZ Police fell short of the requirements of section 16(3) of the OIA, in that they gave no reason why they did not provide information (in this case, the response letters) in the format I had specified that I preferred.

2. NZ Police failed to provide a decision on part of each of these requests, regarding the licence under which the information provided was released.

As I mentioned earlier, I have experienced similar issues with various other agencies. I am raising the issues regarding this specific request because it is the only one in which I have followed up with the agency to ask again for the licence and for an accessible copy of the response letter.

More than just having NZ Police release the information I have asked for, I’m hoping that the outcome of this complaint will result in a clearer avenue for how requesters can ask for accessible responses and for the licence under which information has been released.

I have attached a zip file containing all correspondence I have had with NZ Police regarding these requests. This correspondence can also all be viewed online on the FYI website at the following two URLs:

https://fyi.org.nz/request/7257-police-p...
https://fyi.org.nz/request/7482-police-p...

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if any part of my complaint is unclear, or if you require any more information from me.

Ngā mihi,
Mark Hanna

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