Friday, September 23, 2011


Someone using the pseudonym Richard Martin has been systematically putting in freedom of information requests to police authorities asking for details about data sharing between the police and the RSPCA inspectorate using the whatdotheyknow  website. You can see the progress of some of these if you search the site and responses are starting to filter back now.

The reply from South Yorkshire police is rather interesting (they're explaining why it would take too long to examine every record of communication between the RSPCA and the police in order to report whether information was being given to the RSPCA by the police or vice versa):

"Since 1st Jan 2005 there are 7354 incidents where the phrase 'RSPCA'
appears in the incident somewhere.

In order to ascertain if the incident relates to requests for information
would require checking the incidents.

There are over 380 incidents where the source name or the source location
includes the phrase 'RSPCA' indicating the call has come from RSPCA rather
than SYP requesting RSPCA.

To view the 380 would take over 30 hours based on 5 minutes per incident."
On this basis it appears that South Yorkshire police made about 20 requests to the RSPCA for every one request from the RSPCA to South Yorkshire. It probably doesn't represent a huge proportion of their total workload, but it does suggest that the RSPCA saves quite a bit of public money by dealing with problems that the police would have to pick up if we didn't exist.

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