Freedom of Information: Refuse Offences (Fife) (R010763)
Thank you for your request dated 7 July 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information regarding reports submitted by Fife Council over refuse offences, which was provided to you in an FOI response from them. You wish to know how many people referred by the council were prosecuted in each year and provide the names of the charges in each case and their codes as well as the outcomes, if recorded.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of FOISA, so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. As the exemption is conditional we have applied the ‘public interest test’. This means we have, in all the circumstances of this case, considered if the public interest in disclosing the information under FOISA outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
While we do endeavour to provide information where possible, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operational database. It is designed to meet the business needs of COPFS in relation to the processing of criminal cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes, ie to prepare court documentation; to send and receive electronic information regarding court appearances and results; to cite witnesses; to deal with issues relating to disclosure of information to the defence etc.
I attach a table providing the information you have requested. The information which is provided to you relates to charges recorded under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 33(1)(a)&(6), which is to deposit/knowingly cause to be deposited/knowingly permit to be deposited controlled waste. This is the charge which covers fly tipping. These charges are recorded in the financial year they were reported to the Procurator Fiscal by Fife Council, which may not be the same financial year in which the offences were committed.
It should be noted that these figures relate to the number of charges submitted, not the number of cases submitted and one or more charge(s) may relate to the same accused person.
The table provides information on how many of these charges have had proceedings raised in Court. For completeness, I have also provided information on how many charges have been dealt with by the offer of a non-court disposal (also referred to as direct measures); and those charges in which no action has been taken.