Disclosure Details

Sexual offences - 114/13

Dated: 12 Mar 2013

Date of request:     05/02/2013

Date of response:   12/03/2013

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 February 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: 

The number of people aged 15 or under arrested for sexual offences by your force over the last five years, broken down by year. 

In addition, I would like this information broken down into:

a) The age of the person arrested
b) the arrest offence type (eg. rape, other serious sexual offences)
c) outcome of arrest (eg. caution/reprimand/warning, charge, no further action)
d) victim age group (0-9, 10-19, 20+)

The information would ideally be in word or excell format

In response:

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 the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows, however the following should be noted:
Not all crime reports have a victim date of birth recorded, for example  where the victim is recorded as Regina.
Offender and victim ages have been calculated based on the age of the person at the time of the arrest.
The results are for every person arrested. If a number of people have been arrested in relation to one offence then the same victim details will appear against all the people arrested for the incident.
The outcome of the arrest (the disposal) may not be the same as the arrest itself. Someone could be arrested for a sexual offence only to be charged with a common assault. It can work the other way round, with someone arrested for a common assault who then ends up being charged with a sexual offence. Hence the results do not show the number of people charged with sexual offences, they just show what happened to the people who were originally arrested for sex offences.

It should be noted that persons currently on bail are not included in these figures and, due to low numbers 10 and 11 year olds have been combined.  This will avoid  the use of relevant exemptions to withhold. 

Additionally please note that with  reference to the data below, the significant reduction in children under 15yrs being arrested for sexual offending since 2011 needs to be treated with caution: it does not necessarily reflect a reduction in child sexual offending. In fact since 2011, working practices have changed and Code G to the PACE Codes of Practice has been implemented: these two events have resulted in children who sexually offend being interviewed as voluntary attenders at Police Stations in many circumstances rather than being arrested. Unfortunately our search systems are unable to accurately search voluntary attender data and therefore we cannot say without a considerable amount of research (exceeding 18 hours) what the picture is for sexual offending by children aged 15 years or under.

All investigations into sexual offences committed by children on other children are carried out jointly by Police and Childrens Services working together with contributions from Health and other agencies.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

With the above in mind please see the below attached.
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 crime data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

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 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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