Disclosure Details

Psychoactive substances - 1403/16

Dated: 23 Jan 2017

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

Thank you for your e mail dated 23 December 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. 

You asked:

Since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force in May, how many people have you arrested for: 

Possession of a legal high or NPS, Possession with intent to supply and supplying?

If it is possible (within the cost limit) can you give the age of the individuals arrested?

If it is possible (within the cost limit) can you identify the type of NPS relating to each arrest?

If you've already recently answered this question in a previous FOI - can you please direct me to your disclosure log? 


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 cannot be extracted within the permitted 18 hour threshold for the following reasons. 

"Possession of legal high or NPS" has no specific HO code under the new act. To supply a response at this point would entail approximately 600 arrest records for the time period requested being manually reviewed to establish if any met this point of your query. Even at a conservative estimate of 2.5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to locate and extract this information  would take over 25 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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.  Futher time would then be needed to establish the age of offenders and to identify the type of NPS relating to each arrest. 

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.

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.

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.