Child abuse 1133/15
Dated: 21 Dec 2015
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your e mail dated 2 December 2015 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 at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
1. The number of complaints or allegations you have received, or been notified of, relating to the sexual abuse of a child or children on the premises of a madrassa or mosque in the following calendar years: a) 2012, b) 2013, c) 2014 and d) 2015 so far.
2. For each allegation in question 1, please state:
a) if there was an investigation by your Force,
b) the number of individuals arrested,
c) number charged,
d) number prosecuted,
e) the details of any resulting convictions and sentences, or acquittals,
f) and if the allegation was not pursued to court, please provide the reasons why.
3. The number of complaints or allegations you have received, or been notified of, relating to the physical abuse of a child or children on the premises of a madrassa or mosque in the following calendar years: a) 2012, b) 2013, c) 2014 and d) 2015 so far.
4. For each allegation in question 3, please state:
g) if there was an investigation by your Force,
h) the number of individuals arrested,
i) number charged,
j) number prosecuted,
k) the details of any resulting convictions and sentences, or acquittals,
l) and if the allegation was not pursued to court, please provide the reasons why.
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 by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed as the information you have requested is not held in a format that can be retrieved within the time limits of the Act.
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff searching the Northumbria Police Integrated Computer and Communications System using the keywords 'Madrassa', 'Madrasa' & 'Mosque', and manually reviewing each resultant incident to establish the type of location and whether any reports of physical or sexual abuse on the premises have been made. Initial indications are that for one of the years you specified this would involve over 1,400 incident reports being searched to establish if any related to sexual or pysical abuse of children at those premises.
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 46 hours for a single year, 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.
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.
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.
You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.
The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
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 wider public interest.
The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.
I have provided the relevant link below.
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.
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.
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.