Disclosure Details

Sexual offences - 419/15

Dated: 13 Aug 2015

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

Date of request: 23/04/2015

Date of response: 12/08/2015

 Thank you for your e mail dated 23 April 2015 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. The number of rape and all other types of sexual offences that took place in the location of schools in your area for each of the following financial years: 2014/15, 2013/14, 2012/13, 2011/12.

2. Please breakdown the figures by a) the financial years listed above b) type of offence c) age of the suspect/offender d) the outcome (charge, caution, etc) e) if possible, the type of premises involved, for example primary or secondary school.

3. If possible please can you also breakdown by who the suspect/offender was, by which I mean teacher, pupil, parent or other. 

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 Crime Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows. 

The data provided below is based on the date recorded as being committed. The results are based on the location of the crime having been recorded as 'school premises'.

The data has been provided in a way which avoids the use of relevant exemptions being applied to withhold the requested information entirely.

With the above in mind please see the below:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) Request 419/15 - Sexual offences

Number of recorded sexual offences where the offence location is 'school premises', by year offence was committed.

Offence 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
Causing sexual activity without consent 0 0 1 0 1
Exposure and Voyeurism 0 1 0 0 1
Rape of a female aged 16 and over 0 2 0 0 2
Sexual activity involving a child under 13 0 0 0 3 3
Sexual activity involving child under 16 1 1 0 2 4
Sexual assault on a female aged 13 or over 8 3 3 7 21
Sexual assault on a female child under 13 0 0 1 3 4
Sexual assault on a male aged 13 and over 2 0 0 1 3
Sexual assault on a male child under 13 2 0 0 0 2
Sexual grooming 0 1 1 0 2
Total 13 8 6 16 43
Premises type 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
Secondary / High School 8 5 3 6 22
Special Educational Needs School 3 0 2 10 15
Primary School 1 2 1 0 4
Middle School 1 0 0 0 1
Unknown 0 1 0 0 1
Total 13 8 6 16 43
Outcome of the offence once the crime is finalised, by year offence was committed.
Outcome 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
Undetected 6 5 3 15 29
Charge 3 1 2 1 7
Caution 2 2 1 0 5
YOT triage 2 0 0 0 2
Total 13 8 6 16 43
Age of the offender at the time the crime is recorded*.    
Age 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
Under 16 8 2 1 1 12
16 - 24 years 0 1 1 1 3
25 years and over 3 1 1 0 5
Total 11 4 3 2 20
*The figures include those persons 'accused' and 'suspect named'. It does not include any persons eliminated.
A single crime can have more than one offender. The figures are a count of offenders and do not necessarily relate to one offender per crime.
Relationship to victim 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
None 3 0 3 2 8
Acquaintance 4 1 0 0 5
Friend 4 1 0 0 5
Teacher 0 1 0 0 1
Unknown 0 1 0 0 1
Total 11 4 3 2 20

In addition we can neither confirm nor deny any further information is held and by doing so will rely on the below exemption.

Section 23(5) Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies

Section 30(3) Investigations and Proceedings Conducted by Public Authorities.

Section 23(5) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to articulate to the applicant the harm in disclosure or the findings of a public interest test.

Section 30(3) is a class based qualified exemption, which means the legislators have identified a requirement to consider and articulate the public interest to the applicant. I have done so below.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 30(3)

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

Confirming or denying that any other information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed public improving their knowledge and understanding of the investigatory process involving such offences. As all investigations are publicly funded, confirmation that any other information is held would provide transparency with regard to budgets that are allocated to investigate such offences.

In addition, reassurance may be provided to the public that the Police Service conducts investigations appropriately. This could allow the public to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the Police Service.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming or denying that any other information is held

The Police Service will never disclose information which could identify investigative activity and therefore undermine their investigations. To do so would hinder the prevention or detection of crime and the apprehension of offenders.

Confirmation that any other information is held would reveal any covert investigative activity. This again would hinder the prevention and detection of crime and affect the forces law enforcement capabilities. Confirmation would also undermine the partnership approach to such investigations.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying that any other information pertinent to this request exists. The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. As part of that policing purpose, information is gathered which can be highly sensitive. Irrespective of what other information may or may not be held, confirmation or denial that any other information is held relating to these specific offences would identify investigative activity.

Weakening the mechanisms used to monitor any type of criminal activity, would place relations between Northumbria Police and other law enforcement agencies at risk.

Information disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act is made public to the world when released and has an impact on all areas of the country not just within the jurisdiction of one public authority. A series of disclosures would identify where such investigations have been highlighted.

Having considered all the factors, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that any other information is held pertinent to this request.

No inference can be drawn from this refusal that other information is or isn’t held.

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.

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena. 

The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

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.

The relevant link can be found here

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.