Child sexual exploitation - 761/14
Dated: 02 Oct 2014
Date of request: 19/09/14
Date of response: 02/10/14
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 19 September 2014 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.
I would like to know the following:
1. How many cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE) have you had reported over the last 3 and a bit years.
April 2011 - April 2012
April 2012 - April 2013
April 2013 - April 2014
April 2014 - ( up to Aug 2014 )
2. How many were investigated? (again the same yearly breakdown as above).
3. How many led to a conviction? (yearly breakdown as above)
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 Crime Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed within the time constraints of the Act for the following reasons.
The information you have requested is not held in an easily retrievable format. As there is no specific definition of what constitutes child sex exploitation all instances where there are 'concern for child notifications' recorded would have to be viewed in order to establish which fitted the criteria of your request.
Northumbria Police has procedures in place to complete a Child Concern Notification (CCN) where there is a concern or identified risk in relation to the child. This will notify the Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adults unit (CAVA) and Children Services of the matter.
A CCN is risk-assessed as a Notification when there is no reason to believe that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and it is not anticipated that Children’s Services will undertake further safeguarding measures in the absence of further information. These are shared for information only with Children's Services.
A CCN is risk-assessed as a Referral when there is reason to suspect that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and Children’s Services are likely to carry out further activity to safeguard. The record will then be forwarded to the duty Child Abuse Investigation Unit Detective Sergeant for allocation and forwarded to Children’s Services by secure email.
A CCN MUST be completed in the following cases:
Children who are taken into police protection.
Children who have suffered assault by a parent or carer
Children who have been sexually abused or exploited, or who sexually abuse others.
Children who reside or associate with a sex offender.
Children who are reported missing, other than those in Local Authority care.
Children who abuse drugs or alcohol habitually or to the degree that they require medical intervention.
Children were there are concerns of Honour Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation or Forced Marriage.
Children who are suspected of involvement in terrorism or domestic extremism.
Children who suffer neglect, i.e. who are not provided adequate food, warmth or medical treatment by parent/carer.
Children who have died, attempted suicide, or have self-harmed.
Children or an unborn baby of a parent who is involved in a domestic abuse incident if the incident results in a crime, or the victim is assessed as high risk or the child is a witness in the house when the incident happened.
Children whose parents habitually abuse alcohol and / or drugs.
Children who reside with or associate with parents who have mental health illnesses.
An unborn baby where mother is suspected or identified as abusing drugs and alcohol whilst pregnant. (we record the estimated birth date on the details of concern page).
An unborn baby in any of the other above circumstances (we record the estimated birth date on the details of concern page).
In circumstances where a child is living with or having any such contact with an adult who has been subject of an OSMAN ruling.
Children themselves who are the subject of an OSMAN ruling.
The above circumstances are not exhaustive. An officer always has discretion to complete a CCN whenever they have overriding concerns for the safety or well-being of a child.
We have therefore estimated to provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually searching over 14,000 CCN records for 2013 alone. 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 466 hours for this 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
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for 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 as the Child Concern Notifications are not categorised, and any further information would require a manual review of those child concerns.
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.
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.