Disclosure Details

Cyber Crime - 856/12

Dated: 08 Jan 2013

Date of request:     02/11/2012

Date of response:   28/11/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 2 November 2012 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: 

For the period 2010 (calendar year) to the current date.

  1. How many offences has your police force investigated related to alleged breaches of the Computer Misuse Act, or any offences that could be seen as 'cyber crime'. 'Cyber crime' includes fraud offences committed using Internet services, taking websites offline by attacking servers, or any other offences carried out with the use of a computer.

  2. How many have been charged of those offences?

  3. How many have received prison sentences as a result of being charged for those offences?

To clarify I am looking for crimes, and all kinds of Internet crime, but excluding harassment cases.

In response:

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 Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however can not be disclosed for the following reason.

We are unable to supply the information requested.  To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at points 2 and 3 would entail a member of staff manually searching offences where the MO contains keywords such 'internet', 'computer', 'website', 'facebook', 'ebay' and 'laptop', as currently there is no 'cyber crime' marker.  Crimes such as burglaries or thefts where a laptop was stolen would then have to be discounted.  Therefore, approximately 770 records would need searched.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 38 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 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, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be either one of the options provided below:-

i) The number of offences that we assess as most closely resembling ‘cyber crime’.  This would be based on the crime categories - violence against the person (VAP) (excluding harassment), fraud & forgery, sexual offences and miscellaneous crime only.  OR;

ii) The information requested at points 1-3 above with regards to Computer Misuse Act offences only.

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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103