GLOUCESTERSHIRE Constabulary has apologised for months of delays in responding to freedom of information (FOI) requests.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows citizens to request information from public authorities such as the police.

However, Gloucestershire Constabulary has been failing to meet the legal deadlines in which it should respond to such requests.

The force says this is because it receives a high volume of requests and is currently experiencing a backlog and has apologised for the delay.

The issue is so serious they are recruiting more staff to its information disclosure unit to meet the demand.

The issue came to light after Gloucestershire County Councillor David Willingham (LD, St Mark’s and St Peter’s) requested statistics for Operation SNAP which is the reporting tool that allows uploading of dash-cam footage to the police.

He submitted his request for information on September 4 but as of today (December 29) they have yet to provide him with the information.

“Freedom of information legislation is important in allowing the press and public to hold public authorities to account,” Cllr Willingham said.

“It is disappointing that on his watch, the Police and Crime Commissioner seems to have allowed compliance with this legislative duty to slip.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed they received the request in September but was unable to provide a response within the legislative timeframe due to resourcing constraints.

“On this occasion, the applicant has not been kept fully informed of the delay and we would like to apologise for his poor experience. The request is now being prioritised,” they said.

“The Constabulary receives a high volume of requests into the information disclosure unit and is currently experiencing a backlog.

“The issue has been recognised within the organisation and currently more staff are being recruited into the department in order to meet the demand.

“The recruitment and vetting process can take some time however, which is why we have not been able to address the problem as quickly as we would like.

“We endeavour to keep those submitting FOI requests updated throughout the application process and ask that people bear with us until we can reduce the backlog.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire has not responded to a request for comment.