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Public Filming at Police Stations (1085A/23)


  1. Please provide the number of times you have identified members of the public filming at police stations in the last five years.
  2. Please provide your current guidance to officers for dealing with them.
  3. Please provide the number of civil claims you have received from people filming police stations.  Specify the number who alleged they were unlawfully detained.
  4. Please specify the number of payouts you have made relating to the civil claims.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to question 2 of your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached – ‘Reminder.pdf’ and the download that accompanies this document ‘Guidance_around_public_filming_and_photography.pdf’). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.


There is no marker on our incident recording system that enables us to easily identify logs relating to members of the public filming at police stations. Therefore to determine the requested information for question 1, we would need to manually go into and read every log created in the last five years. However, this would involve a trawl through thousands upon thousands of records and such a search would far exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

Additionally, with regard to questions 3 and 4, our Legal Services Department do not keep a breakdown of the cause of a detention and therefore would need to manually review over 450 claims during the period to identify any that are relevant to this request. Such a search however is estimated to take on average 18 mins per case (135 hours in total), and once again exceeds the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: