Facebook & Twitter - 822/15
Dated: 29 Sep 2015
Date of request: 11/09/15
Date of response: 29/09/15
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 11 September 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 by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
Please tell me how many times a) Facebook and b) Twitter were recorded in crime reports in each of the last five years a) 2010 b) 2011 c) 2012 d) 2013 e) 2014
For each case, please also provide me with a) what the case is in which Facebook or Twitter has been mentioned. E.g. a murder case, a fraud case and b) a brief summary of the incident involving Facebook or Twitter.
Please provide the first part of your response in the following format:
Total number of times Facebook was recorded in crime reports in 2010: XX
Total number of times Facebook was recorded in crime reports in 2011: XX
Total number of times Facebook was recorded in crime reports in 2012: XX
Total number of times Facebook was recorded in crime reports in 2013: XX
Total number of times Facebook was recorded in crime reports in 2014: XX
Total number of times Twitter was recorded in crime reports in 2010: XX
Total number of times Twitter was recorded in crime reports in 2011: XX
Total number of times Twitter was recorded in crime reports in 2012: XX
Total number of times Twitter was recorded in crime reports in 2013: XX
Total number of times Twitter was recorded in crime reports in 2014: XX
And then please provide me with the breakdown in a table format as follows. I've obviously used a couple of made up examples:
Year of offence Type of case Summary of incident involving Facebook or Twitter
2011 Murder Defendant uses Facebook to lure victim to his house
2013 Child sex offences 37-year-old school groundsman uses Facebook to groom a six-year-old boy
If giving this information for the last five years exceeds your cost limit, please give me figures for as many years as possible, starting with the most recent one (2014)
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 retrieved within the permitted time limits for the following reasons.
The information is not held in an easily retrievable format, particularly with regards to a summary of the reports.
We thought this information could be extracted from the Modus Operandi (MO) field of the crime, however from a sample we have taken, this cannot be done.
Initial indications are that there are over 630 crimes where Facebook or Twitter has been recorded for the 5 year time period specified, 233 of these being in 2014. Each of these reports would need to be viewed to establish the nature of the crime and provide you with an accurate summary of what had occurred. Even at a conservative estimate of 6 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this part of the request would take over 60 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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 the number of Facebook and Twitter crimes in the 5 year period requested down to crime type.
If that would be useful you may wish to refine 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: www.northumbria.police.uk/freedom_of_information/disclosure_log/foi_complaint_rights/
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.