FOI request detail

Freedom of information request

Request ID: FOI-2800-1920
Date published: 16 January 2020

You asked

Can you please provide/disclose all data from the past three months of faults and all other information held with a speed camera? The camera referred to is the NORTH bound detecting camera on Sydenham Hill just before the Mountacre close junction. The camera is one of two mounted (N/B & S/B) on a centre island post. As mentioned above, my interest is purely regarding the camera positioned for vehicles travelling north bound away from Crystal Palace. These cameras are maintained by TfL and contracted to Red Speed to do so.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-2800-1920/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 15 December 2019 asking for information about the speed camera on Sydenham Hill.

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. However, in accordance with the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply the fault records requested as these are subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 31 of the FOI Act, which relates to law enforcement. Specifically, section 31(1)(a), which relates to information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime’.

Information relating to faults with speed cameras could be used by those wishing to avoid speed restrictions. Were it known that a camera at a specific location was out of service or had experienced recent faults, some road users may reach the, possibly incorrect, conclusion that this camera was not enforceable, which could increase the number of drivers breaking speed restrictions at this location. Should this information be disclosed, it would be likely to lead to further requests on other locations which would become more difficult to refuse to enable others to build up a database of speed camera functionality, as well as attempt to predict when cameras may or may not be operational by searching for any patterns that may be perceived. Speed limits are in place permanently and must be adhered to at all times, irrespective of whether a speed camera is in place and/or functional. We therefore believe that there is a very real risk that disclosure would be likely to increase the confidence of anyone inclined to contravene the legal speed restrictions, even if that confidence is ultimately misguided or irrational. This would in turn have a further effect that TfL would have to divert further resources to enforcing more zones, which would be likely to involve increased staff and direct costs. It would not be in the public interest to limit TfL’s ability to make the most efficient use of its limited funds in this manner.

While section 31(1) does refer to information whose disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime, the other provisions of section 31 do not specify that they must relate to criminal activity, but only that they relate to law enforcement. As disclosure is likely to lead to an increase in speeding, we are satisfied that disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime’ and therefore the exemption is engaged.

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 we do not consider that there are any strong public interest grounds in favour of disclosing this information. On the other hand, there is a very strong public interest in maximising the ability of traffic to move along the TfL Road Network safely, and this is reflected in TfL’s legal duty to ensure that this happens. It would be strongly against the public interest to release any information that would undermine this and lead to any increase in illegal or unsafe driving practices.

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

Back to top

Want to make a request?

We'll email you the response within 20 working days.

We'll publish the response online without disclosing any personal information.