- 17 Oct 2019
Date received: 4 Sep 2019
Date responded: 14 Oct 2019
You asked “We would be grateful if you could provide us with the following information about the Erskine Bridge:
1. Details of risk assessments that have been undertaken in regards to suicides and attempted suicides on the Erskine Bridge from 1999 to date.
2. Details of installations, maintenance repairs and alterations that have been undertaken to the Erskine Bridge since 1 September 1999 in relation to, or in response to, suicides or attempted suicides.
3. Reporting of suicides that have taken place on the Erskine Bridge from 1 September 1999 to present, and if possible, details about the decrease in suicides since prevention measures were brought in.
4. Minutes of meetings where suicide prevention on the Erskine Bridge was discussed and/or decided on from 1 September 1999 to date.
5. Your code of practice and/or policies for dealing with suicide attempts from the Erskine Bridge at present”.
After a clarification request you agreed on 17 September 2019 to reduce the scope of your search to 1 January 2009 to date.
1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we do not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies is that no specific risk assessment have been undertaken on the matter of suicides.
2. A new pedestrian parapet was erected in 2011/12.
3. Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), we are not required to provide information which we do not have. We do not have the information you have requested because suicides are not recorded by us. You may wish to contact Police Scotland at firstname.lastname@example.org to request this information.
4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under the exception at regulation 10(4)(b) of the EIRs a public authority may refuse a request for information if it is ‘manifestly unreasonable’. The Scottish Information Commissioner’s guidance on the regulation 10(4)(b) exception at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Law/EIRs/EIRsExceptions.aspx says that there may “be instances where it is appropriate for the Commissioner to consider the proportionality of the burden on the public authority in terms of the costs and resources involved in dealing with a request when considering the application of this exception”. There are no records of specific meetings in relation to suicide on the Erskine Bridge, however this may have been mentioned in other meetings. It would be manifestly unreasonable to search through 10 years of minutes and emails to locate any mention of suicide or attempted suicide on the Erskine Bridge. In addition because of the volume of records which would need to be searched, a 20 working days extension to the response deadline (under regulation 7 of the EIRs) would still not make the request manageable. For these reasons, we consider that this part of your request is manifestly unreasonable and so we are refusing it under regulation 10(4)(b).
As the exception 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 information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about incidents of suicide/attempted suicides, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring the efficient and effective use of public resources by not incurring excessive costs when complying with information requests.
You may however wish to consider reducing the scope of your request as we had previously requested in order to make it manageable. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.
5. The relevant section of the Operating Company Incident Response Plan is attached at Annex A.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House