Weapons - 255/12
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 07/03/2012
Date of response: 20/03/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 7 March 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.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I would like to request the following information with regard to Sunderland Area Command.
How many objects/ weapons deemed dangerous were seized from people between March 2011 and February 2012?
A breakdown of what the objects were.
Ages of the people the objects were seized from (in correlation to the objects seized)
A repeat of questions 1, 2 and 3 for March 2010 to February 2011.
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 however can not be disclosed for the following reason.
This information is not held in an easily retrievable format. Some of the requested information may only be obtained from examining the paperbased evidential files completed by officers who have dealt with offences involving alleged dangerous weapons. In the first instance, the request is particularly vague in the use of the phrase 'objects/weapons deemed dangerous'. An ordinarily innocent article may have been used in any one of a number of Offensive Weapon offences, an offence of Violence, a Public Order offence or any other criminal offence as part of that offence, which may mean that the previously innocent article became dangerous. It would be necessary to physically read each individual original computerised incident report, as well as the computerised crime report and the computerised record attached to any arrested person(s) as well as viewing every individual property record.
During the period specified there were 4000 reports of violent crimes in the Sunderland area. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 200 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.
When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.
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.