FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-1190-1819
Date published: 10 August 2018

You asked

I would like to request the audio file for the "Inspector Sands" announcement used in London Underground stations. I would like to get this file as I like to collect announcements and play them through my personal PA system. This will not be played in the public at all.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1190-1819/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 27 July 2018 asking for the "Inspector Sands" announcement.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

The Inspector Sands voice message is an automated message which is activated when the station fire alarm sounds. The message gives us an opportunity to investigate why the fire alarm is operating. It is a safety mechanism that has been agreed with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and is the same system used in major national rail stations and airports in the UK.

In accordance with the FOI Act, TfL is not obliged to supply you with a copy of this announcement as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under Section 38 – health and safety.

In this instance the exemption has been applied as disclosure of the information you have requested would create a risk to the safe operation of our stations during emergency situations and this would, or would be likely, to therefore put the health and safety of customers and staff at risk.

The Inspector Sands message exists so that we can get staff prepared to carry out certain safety related activities but without causing unnecessary alarm for customers. The use of this announcement in an unauthorised manner could cause confusion amongst our staff and impede our ability to operate a safe service, particularly in a potential emergency situation.

Whilst we make no suggestion that you would use this information for anything other than you own personal interest, disclosure of this information to you has to be regarded as a disclosure to ‘the public at large’ as we publish responses to all of our FOI requests on our website, and responses to What Do They Know requests are available for anyone to see. This information could potentially be obtained and utilised by individuals who may wish to use this information to cause disruption or harm to the London Underground network. The London Underground system is an attractive terrorist target for several reasons including, its importance to London and the knock on effect to the nation’s economy if it is disrupted, the publicity gained from attacking an iconic transport system and the attractiveness of the system for a mass casualty attack due to its open, mass transport nature. It is also part of the nation’s critical infrastructure by virtue of its central importance to the functioning of London and its economy.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, but in this instance the public interest in applying the exemption, in order to minimise risks to operational resilience, safe operation of the London Underground network, the welfare of staff and members of the general public, and staff capability to manage effectively when the message is used, outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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