Making a request

For a request to be valid under the FOIA, the following criteria must be met:

  • The request must be made in writing.
  • It must contain a return address (this can be an email address).
  • It must clearly identify the information being sought.
  • Can be made by an individual or an organisation from anywhere in the world.

What is covered by the Freedom of Information Act:

  • Covers information not data or documents.
  • Covers information in any format, no matter how it is recorded.

Vexatious Requests

Public authorities are not obliged to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious. This can be considered as any request which would impose a significant burden on the public authority in terms of expense or distraction and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The request has no serious purpose or value.
  • The request is designed to cause disruption or annoyance.
  • The request has the effect of harassing the public authority.
  • The request can be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable.

There is no obligation to comply with a request if it is identifiable or substantially similar to a request from the same person or group or body, apparently acting in concert (campaign request), unless a reasonable interval has lapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request. The reasonable interval may be defined as 60 working days.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is ‘applicant blind'; decisions taken to refuse a request are based on the actual questions concerned. Further information is available from the Information Commissioners' website.

Personal Information

Personal information (i.e. information regarding yourself or a third party) is exempt under the FOIA. However, if you are requesting information we hold about yourself, you can apply for a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998.


Freedom of Information &Publication Scheme Unit
Freedom of Information Unit,
Corporate Services,
North Wales Police Headquarters,
Colwyn Bay,
LL29 8AW

Email: Freedom of Information Unit