Disclosure Details

Cyber bullying - 862/14

Dated: 05 Nov 2014

Date of request:      16/10/14

Date of response:  05/11/14

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 16 October 2014 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.

You asked: 

1. What offences do you class as cyberbullying?
2. Do have a cyberbullying policy in place?
3.Does your force run training on cyberbullying?
4.Does your force run training on sexting?
5. How many incidents of cyberbullying and how many incidents of sexting you had reported as a force for 2012, 2013 and 2014 to present for 11- 15 year olds and those aged 16  and above

In response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Crime & Corporate Development Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

1. The offences that could fall within these type of allegations could range from Malicious Communications Act 1988, Communications Act 2003 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. There could be other Acts that may also apply under certain circumstances such as the Public Order Act 1986 and the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

2-4 Whilst we do not currently have specific policies or traning  in place for cyberbullying or sexting, Northumbria Police recognises that cyber related offences are a concern generally and  we are currently developing strategies and Policy around Child Sex Expolitation and Online Child Sex Exploitation (OCSE) which will include within it an element on Cyber Bullying.

5. The information provided in the below attachment has been collated by searching all incident headers for the keywords "cyber" and "bullying" together and "sexting" in force databases used to record incidents.

Due to 'cyber bullying' covering such a wide range of social media (Blackberry messenger, e-mail, and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to name a few) the key words used in your  FOI request have been used to formulate the searches and attempt to keep the request within the time restrictions of the Act.  Therefore, incidents involving 'cyber-bullying' or 'sexting' that do not mention these keywords will not be captured by the searches and will not be counted, e.g.  Incidents that refer to 'facebook' and 'bullying' will not be counted if the word 'cyber' is not in the incident text.
As you did not specify in this part whether you were referring to the IPs age or the suspects age, in order to assist we have provided both in the attachment below.


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 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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103
FOI 862-14_tcm4-100541