Disclosure Details

Acid attacks - 083/14

Dated: 12 Feb 2014

Date of request:    22/01/2014

Date of response:  12/02/2014

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

Thank you for your email dated 22 January 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.

You asked: 

  1. The number of reports the police force has received complaining of assault by corrosive substance  in the last five years.

  2. Please breakdown these reports according to whether the victim was male or female

  3. How many of these are ongoing investigations ?

  4. How many of these resulted in a conviction?

  5. Where there is an ongoing investigation - please provide where possible the name of the victim

  6. Where there has been a conviction - please provide where possible the name of the assailant.

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 Strategy and Performance Unit of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.
It should be noted that searches have had to made on keywords  Weapons used of "AMM" - ammonia, "COR" - corrosive substances, "NOX" - noxious substance to extract the data for this request

1. In the last 5 years we have had 39 reports complaining of assault by corrosive substance
2. 29 victims were male, 10 female
3. 4 are ongoing
4. 18 resulted in a conviction
The names of victims and perpetrators will not be released and by withholding we rely on the following exemption.

Section 40(2) - Personal Information

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if -
(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and (b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

(3) The first condition is -
(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition of "data" in section 1(1) of the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene -
(i) any of the data protection principles, or
(ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress), and
(b) in any other case, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene any of the data protection principles if the exemptions in section 33A(1) of the [1998 c. 29.] Data Protection Act 1998 (which relate to manual data held by public authorities) were disregarded.

Such disclosure would be a clear breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act, which states that personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and that a public authority must handle people’s personal data only in ways they would reasonably expect.

Section 40 is a classed based absolute exemption and therefore there is no need to explain the public interest considerations in this area.
You should consider this to be a refusal under section 17 of the Act.

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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103