Psychics - 132/13
Dated: 08 Mar 2013
Date of request: 12/02/2013
Date of response: 08/03/2013
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 February 2013 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.
Over the past decade (2003 - 2013) Has your force considered using alleged Psychics to help in your investigations?
Between 2003 and 2013, have Psychics contacted your force with the offer of helping? If so who
Between 2003 -2013, have any Psychics who have contacted you with regards to a case offered valid information? If so, who?
Between 2003 - 2013, have any Psychics actually provided 'accurate information that led to the arrest and closure of an investigation? If so, who?
Please note, I am not interested in the precise case details. Just what psychic helped with what case, ie: ‘Psychic Sally Morgan helped with finding missing child Francis Downing in April 2005’.
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 Communication and Crime Departments of Northumbria Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.
1, 3 & 4. No information held
2. Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:
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 that part of your request.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
If a call was taken by contact handlers from a psychic offering help then a log of that call would be created. To then locate that log, even for a one year period, would entail a member of staff searching through many hundred of thousands of calls to see if any related to your query. This could not be achieved within the prescribed time limits of the Act
Additionally I can advise you that if such a call had be received you would not be provided with the name of the person who had made contact. This would be exempt under the Acts legislation under Section 40, Personal Information.
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:-
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.