Disclosure Details

Sextortion - 230/16

Dated: 03 Mar 2016

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

 Thank you for your e mail dated 15 February 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:

1)      How many reports of ‘sextortion’ have been recorded by your force in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015? Can I please have a figure for each year?

2)      For each report can you please provide any additional information recorded – the age, town/city report made, details of what happened, conclusion of the investigation.

By sextortion I mean where victims are persuaded to perform intimate acts over social media and then asked to make a payment to avoid the footage being distributed. They are also known as webcam or photo blackmail scams.


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 searches made for the keyword 'sextortion' brought back no results.

Without the use of the keyword, alternatives to consider would be a search of all incidents that were opened with a sexual offence code to establish if any matched the definition given in your request.  However with an average 3000 such instances per year that would require manual review to see if any were relevant to your request, this would far exceed the permitted time constraints of the Act, ie 2.5 minutes per record would equate to 125 hours minimum per year, therefore S12 would have been applicable.


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.

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.

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.