Disclosure Details

Sexting - 215/17

Dated: 28 Mar 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 22  February 2017 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:

The number of children under the age of 18 who have been investigated in the last three years by your force for "sexting" activities – that is sending or sharing explicit or naked pictures of themselves on social media or text messaging services to others. Please provide figures for the most recent 3 year periods available. 

In each case please state: 

1. The age of the child at the time of the offence and their gender

2. The outcome, ie. no further action, police caution, charged, ongoing

3. The medium used to send explicit content (for example: text message, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook)

4. Whether the child who sent the material was added to the sex offenders’s register.

5. If possible please include the age of the recipient of the explicit material as well as the sender. 

I am aware that you will not record specific offences under the category "sexting".

I believe the most appropriate offences to search within is distributing or publishing an indecent image(s) of a child under s1 of the Protection of Children Act, 1978. It would then require a search within those offences or reported offences carried out by children to isolate those cases in which a child sent an image of themselves to another person.

Can I have all this data for the last three financial years and broken down year on year.


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 within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable format. Cross referencing of various systems in different departments would be required and the location and extraction of  this cannot be achieved within the permitted cost/time  threshhold.   As we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 18 hours,  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 

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

As parts of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request.  However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions  1,2,3 and 5   

If that would be useful to you, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.


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.