Racism - 512/12
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 16/06/2012
Date of response: 28/06/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 16th June 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.
Full details of complaints of anti-Scottish, anti-Irish or anti-Welsh racism made by individuals against members of the public or organisations including businesses, schools, local authorities, etc, in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
I would like the response to include, for each year during the period,
The number of allegations made
The nature of each allegation
The method of resolving the complaint – ie by preliminary inquiry, formal or informal investigation and/or reference to the CPS, etc
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 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.
This information is not held in an easily retrievable format. To even confirm if this information is held would entail a member of staff manually viewing all racially aggravated crimes in the last ten years to find out the circumstances and who or what was the target for the offence (Anti Scottish, Anti Welsh or Anti Irish and whether a business, school etc). The information could be held on any number of different screens. Since the beginning of April 2002 there are in excess of 8,300 which would require a manual viewing. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 415 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.
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.
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.