Disclosure Details

Dog Attacks - 819/12

Dated: 31 Jul 2015

Date of request:   18/10/2012

Date of response:   26/10/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 18 October 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: 

  1. How many children (aged 16 and under) have been attacked by dogs from January 2012 to date?

  2. How many were attacked from January 2011 to December 2011?

  3. Can I have details of the incidents, for example, how old the child was, what injuries they suffered?

  4. How many dogs were put down as a result of the attacks? (in both January 2012 to date and January 2011 to December 2011) 

  5. How many owners were prosecuted as a result of the attacks? (in both January 2012 to date and January 2011 to December 2011)

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

We are unable to supply the information requested.  To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at questions 1 and 2 would entail a keyword and combinations of text search within the initial description of the incident.  A search of 'Dog attack', 'Dog and bit', 'Rottw (eiler)', 'Pit and bull' and 'Staffy' returned over 1,900 incidents for the period 2011/12 alone.  Each of these incidents would need to the searched in order to locate, extract and collate the information specific to your request.  Even based on a minimum estimate of 1 minute per record, we have estimated that this part alone for 2011/12 only would take over 31 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 that part of your request.

However, please note that other keyword and combinations of text searches would also need to be considered.  For example a person might report being bitten by a particular breed of dog rather than being bitten by a 'dog'.

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, subject to any applicable exemptions, within the time constraints would be for all questions in relation to 'crimes' recorded only.  However, please note that with regards to Q4, this information may not be recorded on the crime report, especially if someone was ordered to have the animal destroyed at a later date eg after appearing at court.

If this would be useful 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.

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:-

http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/index.asp

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. 

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029