Arrests - 496/12
Dated: 31 Jul 2015
Date of request: 12/06/2012
Date of response: 28/06/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 12 June 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.
For each of the financial years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 how many citizens’ arrests were recorded in your police force?
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit. I can neither confirm nor deny than the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 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 your request.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
Any offender will be recorded as having been arrested by the first officer who attends the incident and the arrest record will show that they have been arrested by that officer. The custody recording system is designed to accept the collar number of the officer who arrested them not a member of the public.
There may well have been occasions when a member of the public has detained or arrested a person, and the fact that such an event has taken place could be recorded in the free-text entry of a custody record, when the Custody Sergeant first takes that offender into custody. The custody sergeant may feel it is actually not necessary to record that level of detail, so the necessary information will not be recorded at all. The only way to find if that information is actually held would be for a member of staff to read each and every custody record. In any 12 month period there are between seventy to eighty thousand arrests. Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract any information relevant to your request would take over 5,830 hours, for a one year period alone, 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. This clearly makes it impossible to retrieve a figure for the information in which you are interested.
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 underour 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.