Under 16s - 918/14
Dated: 14 Nov 2014
Date of request: 04/11/14
Date of response: 14/11/14
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 4 November 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 am requesting the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
1) The number of strip-searches conducted on U-16s in the following time periods: 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010, 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011, 01/1/2012 to 31/12/2012, 01/1/2013 to 31/12/2013 and 01/1/2014 to the present day.
2) The number of contraband items discovered as a result of these searches.
3) Where available, copies of all documentation or correspondence relating, or making reference to the strip-searching of U-16s from 01/01/2010.This would include internal correspondence such as discussion documents, briefing notes, memos, e-mails, text messages and such like. It would also cover any correspondence Northumbria Police has had with external agencies or parties which makes reference to the process of strip-searching.
4) For the time periods 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010, 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011, 01/1/2012 to 31/12/2012, 01/1/2013 to 31/12/2013 and 01/1/2014 to the present day, please provide the total number of arrests of U-16s.
5) For the time periods 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010, 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011, 01/1/2012 to 31/12/2012, 01/1/2013 to 31/12/2013 and 01/1/2014 to the present day, please provide the total number of U-16 BME arrests.
6) For the time periods 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010, 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011, 01/1/2012 to 31/12/2012, 01/1/2013 to 31/12/2013 and 01/1/2014 to the present day, please provide the total number of U-16 BME strip-searches as a percentage of total strip-searches of U-16s.
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 within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be retrieved within the timescales of the Act.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
The information you have requested is not held electronically, and will be located on an arrested person's paper based custody record at various Custody Suites within the force. To establish what is held on these records would entail a manual review of each custody record to establish if a person had been strip searched. With potentially in excess of 100,000 records to be reviewed for two of the years you specified, even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information would take over 3,300 hours for those two years (additionally there will be costs to retrieve and refile those records which are held in storage) 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.
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 within the time constraints would be:
1. The number of under 16 year olds arrested in the calendar years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to date
2. The number of BME under 16 year olds arrested (if declared by the arrested person) in the calendar years 2010,2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to date.
If that 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 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.