Access history of documents within the HO, ASSI and MEPO record series

FOI request reference: CAS-70513-P8S5B5
Publication date: October 2021


I would like to know the data on the number of catalogue refs a) ordered by readers to view onsite of particular HO, ASSI and MEPO records 1939-1955 or later (relating to crime and punishment and case information) and b) data on the number of orders of copies TNA have received for the same. I’d like the numbers for 2018, 2019 and 2020.I also wonder if you have data on the number of catalogue searches for these files for the 3 years given. I can be more specific on the record series, but I’d initially like to know who I should contact regarding this matter.


Information withheld.


I can confirm that The National Archives holds some information relevant to your request.

We are unable to provide you with this information because it is covered by the exemption at section 12 of the FOI Act, which exempts information where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit.

For further information about why this exemption has been applied, please see the explanatory annex at the end of this response.

In regards to catalogue search data The National Archives only holds this information for a period of 26 months and therefore does not hold such data prior to August 2019.


Exemptions applied.
Section 12: Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit
Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) makes provision for public authorities to refuse requests for information where the cost of dealing with them would exceed an appropriate limit, which for central government departments like The National Archives, is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending just over three working days determining whether the department holds the information, as well as locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

We estimate that it will take us in excess of this time to identify the appropriate information, and locate, retrieve and extract it as the scope of your request is so wide-ranging. Therefore, your request will not be processed further.

You may wish to consider refining your request. If there is a particular file series that you are interested in, for example HO 336 records, and wish us to search for a more specific timeframe, please us let know. However please note that we are unable to guarantee that any refined requests would fall within the cost limit.

Further guidance on the application of this exemption can be found at: