The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued an enforcement notice after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) failed to act on 69 Freedom of Information requests within the required legal period.
The Enforcement Notice (PDF) states that the IPCC must respond to overdue requests by 30 September with the information requested or a valid refusal notice.
ICO deputy commissioner Graham Smith said that the data watchdog had issued the notice to serve as "a strong signal to all public authorities that failure to respond [to Freedom of Information requests] is unacceptable".
"The Freedom of Information Act gives individuals important rights to access information held by public authorities and, despite the current strain on resources, all public authorities must remember their responsibilities under the Act," he said.
"I am pleased that the IPCC reported the difficulties it was facing to us, and hope that it will treat this notice with the urgency it requires by putting in place the necessary steps to answer all requests in compliance with the Act. "
The IPCC said it told the ICO in March that it was experiencing difficulties in responding to "a heavy and sustained rise" in requests and "the loss of key staff".
"We set out our plan for addressing the problem in a structured way over the next six months and had a constructive dialogue with ICO about it," noted an IPCC statement.
"We have brought in additional staff temporarily, and over the last eight weeks we have made significant inroads into the outstanding work, answering around twice as many FOI and DPA requests as we received in the same period."
The ICO recently issued warnings to two NHS Trusts after the loss of patient data.
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