Pirate Radio in Essex - November 2014

Radio related FOI responses by Ofcom to be posted into here for reference & discussion!
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sde-1104
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Pirate Radio in Essex - November 2014

Post by sde-1104 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:36 pm

Thank you for your request for information asking for information about pirate radio in Essex
which we received on 4 October and have considered under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (the Act). You then subsequently sent in a further request on 16 October. I have dealt
with both of these in this response.

First let me apologise for the delay in responding to your request – we wanted to be certain
of the information released so undertook some additional verification.

I have answered your questions below:

You asked:

I would kindly request the following information regarding unlicensed broadcasting,
specifically pirate radio stations broadcasting in the Essex area from January 2004 until
September 2014 under the freedom of information act.

1. How many prosecutions against individuals have taken place between the specified
dates?


Ofcom answer – Information prior to 2007 is not obtainable. Since 2007 there have been 12
prosecutions of people for illegally broadcasting in Essex.

2. Out of the number of persons identified, how many have had multiple prosecutions?

Ofcom answer - Information prior to 2007 is not obtainable. Since 2007, there have been no
multiple prosecutions.

3. Please list the names of all the unlicensed broadcast stations and the number of times
enforcement action has been carried against each of them, clearly showing the method of
enforcement used (ie: studio raid, main transmitter removal, mobile telephones
disconnected, website domain name blocking etc).


Ofcom answer - Information regarding the names and method of enforcement and the
stations concerned is exempt from disclosure under S.31 (law enforcement) of the Act. In
the county of Essex, between 1 January 2007 and 30 September 2014 we took enforcement
action against 18 known illegal broadcast stations, conducting 69 operations in total

4. How many enforcement visits have been as a result from information supplied from
members of the public?


Ofcom answer - Reports and complaints from the public can determine the level of action
that Ofcom takes. However, we cannot easily attribute each single report to an enforcement
operation, to determine this would take considerable time. Section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 provides that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request
for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would
exceed the “appropriate limit”. The appropriate limit is set out in the Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, and is, for Ofcom, £450.
That sum is intended to cover the estimated costs involved in determining whether Ofcom
holds the information requested, identifying, locating, retrieving and extracting the information
from any document containing it. The Regulations provide that costs are to be estimated at a
rate of £25 per person per hour.

Ofcom estimates that it would take more than 18 hours to identify, locate and extract the
information you require and as such the cost of complying with your request will exceed the
appropriate limit. We will therefore not be able to provide any information in connection to
your request.

5. How many enforcement visits have been as a result from information supplied by licence
paying broadcasters?


Ofcom answer - Reports and complaints from the public can determine the level of action
that Ofcom takes. However, we cannot easily attribute each single report to an enforcement
operation, to determine this would take considerable time. Section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 provides that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request
for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would
exceed the “appropriate limit”. The appropriate limit is set out in the Freedom of Information
and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, and is, for Ofcom, £450.
That sum is intended to cover the estimated costs involved in determining whether Ofcom
holds the information requested, identifying, locating, retrieving and extracting the information
from any document containing it. The Regulations provide that costs are to be estimated at a
rate of £25 per person per hour.

Ofcom estimates that it would take more than 18 hours to identify, locate and extract the
information you require and as such the cost of complying with your request will exceed the
appropriate limit. We will therefore not be able to provide any information in connection to
your request.

6. Out of the unlicensed broadcast stations identified, if any have not had enforcement action
against them please supply information as to why it hasn't taken place?


Ofcom answer - None known.

7. How many reports of interference to safety of life services or aviation have been reported
in the Essex or Kent area between the dates stated above, if any please state which
authority reported it and if the interference was proven to be attributed to pirate radio?


Between 2007 and 2014 there were no reports of interference to safety of life services
attributed to pirate radio. A safety of life service includes fire, ambulance, police and coast
guard – Ofcom prioritises each report on the basis of the impact of the interference on the
service affected.

In your further request you asked for:

Can you please advise when the last FM spectral scan in essex took place by Ofcoms field
engineers and where it took place.


Ofcom answer - The last FM (Band II) spectral scan in Essex took place in Southend-on-Sea
on 15 August 2014.

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