Freedom of Information
How to apply for access to documents held by the WA Police Force, according to the Freedom of Information Act.
- Online Freedom of Information Request
- Download Freedom of Information Application Form
- Information Statement
The Freedom of Information Act, 1992 (FOI Act) is designed to make State and local government agencies more open and accountable to the public. This is achieved by:
- Creating a general right of access to documents held by those agencies, subject to the sensitivities of the document.
- Providing a means for individuals to apply to see their own records and ensure personal information held is accurate, complete, up to date and not misleading.
- Requiring certain documents concerning government operations are made available to the public.
What information can be accessed from the WA Police Force and how to access it
As the primary law enforcement agency in the state, the WA Police Force has a variety of documents and records. Some of these have been created for, or have specific application to, various functional units within the WA Police Force. This includes documents created as a result of an incident requiring police attendance, and some are created for research or statistical purposes.
Applying for documents under the Freedom of Information Act
Only documents held by the WA Police Force which are unable to be obtained by another means are able to be applied for. The FOI Act contains exemptions and limitations which can preclude or restrict the release of some documents, or restrict the release of certain details contained within some documents.
Should you require access to documents held by the WA Police Force and you are unable to obtain these by any other means, you can make application under the FOI Act. Within your application, you should include as much information as possible as this will assist with locating all relevant documentation.
You may lodge an FOI application by any of the following methods:
- Through Police Direct. This requires a credit card to pay for any fees, if applicable.
- In person by attending at:
WA Police Force Public Access
Level 5, 141 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6000
Ph: (08) 6229 5900
- In writing by completing the application form and sending it to:
Freedom of Information
Locked Bag 20
PERTH BUSINESS CENTRE WA 6849
- Writing a letter and posting it to the above-mentioned address. Please include as much of the following information as possible:
- Your name
- Your postal address (must be an address in Australia)
- Which documents you are requesting (please be as specific as possible)
- Date, location and nature of incident – if relevant
- Incident or traffic crash reference number (if applicable)
- Name of attending Police Officers (if known)
- Application fee of $30 (if applicable).
Initial application fees
Where an FOI application requests documents that may contain information not limited to the personal information of the applicant, a $30 application fee is required at the time of lodging the request. If lodging in person, payment can be made by debit/credit card, cash, cheque or money order. If you are mailing your application, please include a cheque / money order made payable to the Commissioner of Police. Please note, electronic money order vouchers cannot be accepted and will be returned. An application for non-personal information without the prescribed fee of $30 included will be considered invalid and the application will not proceed until full payment is received. Photographic proof of identity is also required before any application can be processed - driver's licence, passport or similar. Please contact Western Australia Police Force Public Access on (08) 6229 5900 or via email.
|Fees for FOI applications|
Access to personal information or request to amend personal information
Application Fee – non-personal information
Processing Fee – non-personal information
$30.00 per hour
20c per page
Where FOI processing fees are likely to exceed $30.00, you will be provided an 'Estimate of Costs'. This Estimate contains details of additional charges that may be applicable to your application and also provides you with the opportunity to lower the proposed cost by reducing the number of documents requested.
Notice of Decision
Once an application has been evaluated and any documents processed, a formal 'Notice of Decision' will be issued pursuant to the FOI Act. The 'Notice of Decision' will include:
- the day on which the decision was made;
- name and designation of the officer who made the decision
- the type of access provided e.g. full access, partial (edited format) access, refused access or deferred access;
- reasons for deleting matter or refusing a document, if applicable;
- advice on any further charges that have been incurred relating to the application; and
- the rights of review and procedures to be followed.
The notice may also include advice on any further charges that have been incurred related to your application.
Time frame for application completion
The FOI Act provides a 45 day timeframe from the date a valid application has been received, however this timeframe may be extended by agreement with the agency and the applicant. Reasons an extension may be requested can include; difficulty in locating documents, available resources, number of documents and/or time required to process the application. In such instances, FOI staff may contact you to discuss an extension.
The FOI Act contains exemptions to certain information meaning that this information is unable to be obtained through an FOI application. For example, exemptions may be applied to protect the privacy of other individuals and/or sensitive law enforcement methodologies, public safety and property security activities.
The WA Police Force embrace the transparency provided by the FOI Act, however, must also consider the security of operational matters and the interests of the public as a whole. The following areas within the WA Police Force are listed as being exempt under Schedule 2 and section 10 of the FOI Act- access to information from any of these areas is prohibited:
- State Intelligence Division (formerly Bureau of Criminal Intelligence)
- Security Operations (formerly Protective Services Unit)
- Witness Security Unit
- Internal Affairs Unit.
In addition, exemptions also apply to documents originating from a Commonwealth intelligence or security agency.
Appealing a decision
If an applicant is dissatisfied with a decision that has been made, an application for an Internal Review of the decision may be made. An Internal Review should be lodged in writing to the WA Police Force within 30 days of the Notice of Decision being received. An independent officer (not subordinate to the original decision-maker) will undertake the internal review and review the original decision. The Internal Review process will be complete within 15 days of the Internal Review request being received, unless an extension of time is agreed upon.
Should an applicant be dissatisfied with the Internal Review, an application may be made with the Office of the Information Commissioner to conduct an External Review. This request must be lodged within 60 days of the Notice of Decision being given.
All details relating to Internal and External Review processes are provided within the original Notice of Decision document.
Amending personal information
The FOI Act provides the public with the right to apply to amend their personal information contained within WA Police Force documentation if the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.
Your application to amend personal information should be submitted in accordance with Section 46 (1) of the FOI Act. It must:
- Be in writing
- Give enough details that to enable the document that contains the information to be identified
- Give details of matters in relation to which the person believes the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading
- Give the person's reasons for holding that belief
- Give details of the amendment that the person wishes to have made
- Give an address in Australia to which notices under this Act can be sent
- Give any other information or details required under the regulations
- Be lodged at an office of the agency.
The application to amend your personal information must state whether the amendment is to be made by:
- Altering information;
- Striking out or deleting information;
- Inserting information;
- Inserting a note in relation to information; or
- In two or more of those ways.
Office of the Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner is an independent officer who reports directly to Parliament. The main function of the Office of the Information Commissioner is to deal with complaints about decisions made by agencies in respect of access applications and applications for the amendment of personal information.
Other responsibilities include:
- Ensuring that agencies are aware of their responsibilities under the FOI Act
- Ensuring that members of the public are aware of the FOI Act and their rights
- Providing assistance to Members of the public and agencies on matters relevant to the FOI Act
- Recommending to Parliament legislative or administrative changes that could be made to help the objectives of the FOI Act be achieved.