Disclosure Details

Search Warrants - 211/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request: 18/02/2012

Date of response: 05/03/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 18 February 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: 

  1. "I would like to know, for each of the years 2001 - 2010, upon how many occasions police officers have attended the execution of Search Warrants obtained under Section 366 of the Communications Act 2003. Such warrants are obtained by a third party (Capita Business Services Ltd) acting on behalf of the BBC, which is the Television Licensing Authority. The BBC has stated "We exercise search warrants in the presence of police officers."

In response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

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.

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 that part of your request.

 I have set out the reasons for this below.

A separate identification code on incident reports for providing assistance to any other agencies does not exist and therefore the information you have requested cannot be narrowed down and extracted.  In the last year alone this force dealt with more than 560,000 incidents.  Police officers being asked to assist the Television Licensing Authority with the execution of a search warrant could be buried within those incident reports.

As you have stated in your request, the necessary Search Warrants are actually applied for and obtained by the Television Licensing Authority.  If police officers were to have attended to provide assistance, I would suggest that they may have been requested to attend in the likelihood of preventing a breach of the peace.  It is therefore more likely that the Television Licensing Authority would retain more specific records on the specific type of activity in your request.

You may therefore wish to direct your request to them

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.


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