Information requests - 352/16
Dated: 06 Apr 2016
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your e mail dated 10 March 2016 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 at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
1. In the 2015 calendar year how many times did your force make a request to Twitter for information relating to a user in connection with a criminal case?
2. How many of these requests were complied with by Twitter and how many were refused?
3. How many of these requests were made in connection with inquiries in relation to (i) homicides and (ii) terrorism offences.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:
A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit. I can neither confirm nor deny than the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12 (2) 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 your request.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
There is no central point within Northumbria Police where the requested information is held, however individual investigating officers may have approached Twitter to request information.
To attempt to provide an accurate response to your request would entail a member of staff manually reviewing all crimes and incident logs for 2015 to determine which, if any, indicated that such a request to Twitter had been made, and to ascertain the nature of the crime. A further review would be required to establish if a reply had been received from Twitter. Initial indications that this would involve over 100,000 crimes and over 360,000 incidents for the time period you specified
Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information, if held, would take over 15,300 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act applies.
When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so, even for a considerably shorter time period.
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.
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.