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The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of
access to all types of recorded information held by public
authorities including the Police Service. It sets out exemptions
from that right and places a number of obligations on public
authorities. Any person who makes a request to a public authority
for information must be informed whether the public authority holds
that information and, subject to exemptions, supplied with that
Individuals already have the right of access to information
about themselves under the
Protection Act 1998. As far as public authorities are
concerned, the Freedom of Information Act will extend this right to
allow public access to all types of information held. This
individual right of access to information came into effect on 1
Public authorities are required to adopt and maintain a
publication scheme setting out the classes of information it holds,
the manner in which it intends to publish the information, and
whether a charge will be made for the information.
The purpose of the scheme is to ensure a significant amount of
information is available, without the need for a specific request.
Schemes are intended to encourage organisations to publish more
information pro-actively and to develop a greater culture of
An approved publication scheme has been in place since 30 June
2003 and is being updated in accordance with new guidance approved
by the Information Commissioner’s Office with effect from 1 January
The Act is enforced by the
Information Commissioner (the
"Commissioner"), a post that combines regulation of both the
Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts.