Disclosure Details

Stalking - 398/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:       02/05/2012

Date of response:   11/05/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated  2 May 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.

You asked: 

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I would like to request the following information in relation to Sunderland Area Command.

  1. How many reports have the police received in relation to stalking offences between April 2011 and April 2012?

  2. The age and correlating gender of the victims.

  3. How many of these related to online stalking (with relevant age and gender of victims)

  4. A repeat of questions 1 to 3 for April 2010 to April 2011.

  5. A repeat of questions 1 to 3 for April 2009 to April 2010.

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 both the Sunderland Area Command and Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:
A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.  I can neither confirm nor deny than the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12 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 your request.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

There is no legal definition of 'stalking', and neither is there specific legislation to address this kind of behaviour.  The term is used to describe a kind of harassment which is considered to describe a long-term pattern of persistent and repeated contact with, or attempts to contact a particular victim.  Examples of such behaviour include direct communication, physical following, indirect contact through associates or technology, or in fact any variation of the intrusion on a victims privacy.  Descriptions of the type of behaviour are not prescriptive and without reading every possible incident or crime, it would be impossible to identify the incidents/crimes concerned.  The behaviour could well be contained within an incident recorded as Anti-Social behaviour.  During the last financial year  alone Sunderland recorded 19,234 such incidents.

The harassment of another can also be included in a range of offences such as those covered by;
Protection from Harassment Act 1997,Offences Against the Person Act 1861,Sexual Offences Act 2003, Malicious Communications Act 1988, Domestic Violence, Crimes and Victims Act 2004.

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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029