Disclosure Details

Undetected Murders - 133/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request: 31/01/2012

Date of response: 21/02/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 31 January 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: 

Could you please supply information on the number of murder "cold cases"  in the force’s area.  Specifically:

  1. The total number of unsolved cold case murders 

  2. For each murder please include the name, age and address of the victim along with a brief description of the murder including the date, location and method of killing

  3. For each can you please include the date that the murder last came under review. If it is still being reviewed please make this clear. 

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 however can not be disclosed for the following reason.

This information is not held centrally or in an easily retrievable format.  To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at question 3, would entail a member of staff manually searching paper based files from each case to establish the date last reviewed.  We have estimated that to locate, retrieve and extract this information would take over 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 that part of your request.

As the information you have requested at questions 1 and 2 is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

Information at these points has been released under the FOIA previously and is freely available via the Disclosure Log on the Northumbria Police website.

In order to aid and assist you I have provided the relevant link below.


I can also advise that The Major Crime Review Section conducts reviews in order to support investigations, identify good practice, lessons and organisational issues.

There are four main strands:
· Review current undetected major crime
· Attend major crime debriefs – post charge and post trial
· Review historic undetected major crime cases
· Undertake serious case reviews working with partners.

The main purpose of any review is to support investigations by identifying new investigative opportunities, good practice, lessons learnt and areas for development.

Unsolved murders and cases of that importance are never closed and are periodically reviewed, if new information is received or there are new forensic developments these are acted upon

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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