Sex Offenders - 705/12
Dated: 30 Jul 2015
Date of request: 05/09/2012
Date of response: 01/10/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 5 September 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.
How many sex offenders are currently 'lost' or yet to be traced either in the UK or abroad?
How many of these sex offenders have left the country without notifying police and then police have been unable to find them for a period of time? And in each case please tell me how long they remained or remain hidden from police authorities.
How many escaped sex offenders have still not yet been found?
How many of them have police now stopped/given up looking for?
** In each case, please give as much detail as possible on their offence, age, suspected country/area of the world they fled to and the steps the police are taking/ have taken to find them.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
As per our previous responses to you on this subject I can again advise that this information is held however can not be disclosed for the following reasons. Your previous requests FOI 601/12 and 644/12 were calculated to exceed the prescribed 18 hours allowed under the Act and therefore Section 12(1) of the Act was appropriate. This automatically applies to any other requests for substantially similar information that are subsequently submitted within a set time scale, this set time being 60 working days.
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 again consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.
In our response to FOI 644/12, sent to you on 4 September, we advised, under S16 of the Act, that we could provide you with the number of registered sexual offenders whose whereabouts are unknown. This was to aid and assist and provide something that may be of use to you. This subsequent request does not take into consideration the assistance offered, and continues to fall into the S12 refusal exemption.
Outside of the Act you should note that further requests on this subject area may be declared vexatious under Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and we provide an explanation to this exemption.
Section 14 (2) Vexatious Requests - Where a public authority has previously complied under the Act with a request for information which was made by any person, it is not obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or substantially similar request from that person unless a reasonable interval has elapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request. It is not in the spirit of the Act to use it as a method to repetitively interrogate police systems for updated data.
However, the ‘reasonable interval’ is not defined but it is suggested that 60 working days may be a useful benchmark.
You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.
Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the public interest. The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester. I have provided the relevant link below:-
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 underour 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.