Disclosure Details

Custody - 306/17

Dated: 23 Mar 2017

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

Thank you for your e mail dated  11 March  2017 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 at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

1) The number of under 18s held overnight in police custody in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. My definition of "overnight" means anybody brought into custody between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Can I have the figures broken down by year?

2) The age of the youngest child held overnight in custody in 2015-16, and 2016-17.

3) What is the gender and ethnic breakdown of the children held overnight.

3) What is the longest period a child was held, in custody, in terms of hours? And how old were they? And what year was this in?


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 within the Custody Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons. 

The information is not held centrally nor in a format that allows its retrieval within the permitted time threshold.  For the year 2016 alone there were over 2800 under 18s arrested.  Each of those records would require a manual review to establish a response to each part of your request. Even at a conservative estimate of 2.5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 116 hours for that one year period alone, therefore Section 12(1) 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 figures we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so. 

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.


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.