Acid attacks - 699/13
Dated: 30 Oct 2013
Date of request: 18/09/2013
Date of response: 09/10/2013
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 18 September 2013 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
I would like to get the following data, regarding all arrests made during the period of 1 January 2012 - 30 January 2013 on the territory policed by Northumbria Police:I would like to know, in relation to your Force;
1. How many assaults have there been involving a corrosive substance (often known as ‘acid attacks’) in the last year (April 01 2012 to March 31 2013)?
2. How many of the victims were male?
3. What was the ethnicity of the victims (if recorded)? Please give numbers or percentage.
4. How many of these incidents were believed to be connected with honour-based crime? (if recorded)
5. How many arrests were made in connection with acid attacks?
If possible, please could you provide the same information for each of the previous 2 financial years; April 01 2011 to March 31 2012, and April 01 2010 to March 31 2011?
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Strategy and Performance Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.
In relation to question 1, the term 'Acid attack' is too general in the context you have used, any such assaults may be recorded with the name of the substance, for example 'ammonia'. To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a manual review of all crimes of assault in the Northumbria Police area for the three year period you specified. This would be to establish which, if any, involved a corrosive substance. We have estimated that to locate and extract this information, would take over 18 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00.
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.
As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request. However, in order to provide you with some assistance, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be, for the financial year 2012/13 only:
1. The number of Assaults recorded using the words 'ammonia' 'corrosive substances' and 'noxious substances' in the weapons field.
2. The number of victims who were male
3. The ethnicity of the victims (if recorded) broken down into numbers
4. The number of those incidents believed to be connected with honour-based crime (if recorded)
5. The number of arrests made in connection with those attacks.
The same information could be provided for the financial years 2010/11 and 2011/12.
If that would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the crime data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.