Disclosure Details

Weapons in Schools - 852/12

Dated: 23 Nov 2012

Date of request:   01/11/2012

Date of response:   19/11/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 1 November 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: 

I would like to submit a Freedom of Information request for the following information for each of the last five years, so 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2008:

The number of arrests on school or college grounds for offences involving the possession or use of a weapon

  • The type of school involved, for example nursery, primary, secondary, sixth form or further education college. 

  • The type of weapon involved 

  • The age of the person/people arrested. 

  • Any other details relating to these areas.  By any other details we mean the number of people and their ages, and if possible their relationship to the school/colleges. 

The number of times police officers have been called to a school or college due to reports of an offence involving the possession or use of weapon

  • The type of school involved, for example nursery, primary, secondary, sixth form or further education college. 

  • The type of weapon involved 

  • The age of the person/people involved.

  • Any other details relating to these areas.  By any other details we mean the number of people and their ages, and if possible their relationship to the school/colleges.

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, however can not be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held in an easily searchable or retrievable format.  Initial searches made of incidents since 2008 where the type of premises contain the words 'school', 'college' or 'education' showed over 39,000 incidents.  To ensure accuracy, these would then require a member of staff to undertake a manual viewing to establish whether or not any of these reported incidents involved a weapon.  Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract information to comply with this request would take over 1,300 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.

As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request.  However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be the number of crimes where weapons had been involved, located at such locations since 2008.  This could broken down into the type of premises, the age of the offender and their relationship with the school if recorded.

You should note however that exemptions to withhold may still be considered.

If this would be acceptable you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.

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.

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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103