Disclosure Details

Missing persons - 139/17

Dated: 03 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 6 February 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. How many missing people cases did your force deal with during 2016?

2. Out of those cases how many of the missing people were suffering from either dementia or alzheimer’s disease?

3. How many hours of police time were taken up in 2016 looking for missing people with dementia or alzheimer’s?

4. What is the cost of this to the force?


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 in part  by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested, if held at all at point 2,  is not held in a format that allows extraction within the permitted time scales.  There is no flag on systems used that allows us to identify if the missing person was suffering from either dementia or Alzheimer's.  To establish if anything was held to identify that fact would entail a manual view of 8876 missing person records ( that number provides a response to point 1 of this request).  Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 295 hours, 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 information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so. 

I can advise, as a gesture of goodwill:

3 & 4.  No information held. We do not record/collate this.


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.