Disclosure Details

Honour Based Violence - 766/12

Dated: 06 Nov 2012

Date of request:      02/10/2012

Date of response:   29/10/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 2 October 2012 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. Do you record honour based violence and forced marriage crimes?

  2. If so, how many children (under 18) were victims of honour based violence committed in your police force area and what were the offences in

    a) 2011/2012
    b) 2010/2011

  3. Can you please supply a gender and age breakdown for these victims?

  4. How many children (under 18) were victims of forced marriage committed in your police force area and what were the offences in

    a) 2011/2012
    b) 2010/2011

  5. Can you please supply a gender and age breakdown for these victims?

  6. What is the relationship of the alleged offender(s) to the victim, if known?

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 both the Corporate Development and Crime Departments of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Northumbria Police however can not be disclosed for the following reasons.

We are unable to supply the information requested as this information is not held in an easily retrievable format, primarily as there are currently no specific offences of 'honour based crimes' or 'forced marriage'.  This means that no Home Office code is attributed to such incidents and therefore searching for them is time consuming.  We have estimated that to extract information relevant to your request would take well over the prescribed 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 your request.

However outside of the Act, as there are currently no specific offences of 'honour based crimes' or 'forced marriage' I can advise that there are umbrella terms which are used to encompass various offences already covered by other existing legislation.  On 8 June this year the Prime Minister and Home Secretary announced plans to introduce legislation in the future to make forced marriage a criminal offence.

Within our crime recording system we do have the facility to include a marker or flag within the modus operandi (M.O) to indicate if it is believed that honour based violence was involved as an element in the commission of an alleged crime.  However, due to the very low number of such instances further detail would not be disclosed, should it be requested, due to the harm that the release of that information could cause.  Obviously the health and safety of victims is paramount, and any information that could either identify an individual and put them at risk or impinge on any investigations, would not be released to satisfy a Freedom of Information request.

With regards to forced marriage, as outlined above there is no offence at the present time of forcing a person to marry, and there is currently no marker or flag from within our recording system which would enable us to identify any other offences which may have involved a forced marriage.

For your information I have provided a comment from Detective Chief Inspector Max Black of the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit below.

'Police may deal with incidents where honour-based violence and forced marriage is feared or anticipated.  In such cases specialist investigators from Protecting Vulnerable People Unit work with the potential victims and partner organisations to agree safety-planning interventions which, if successful, ensure that HBV and FM never takes place.'

It may also be of interest to you to know that we provide advice regarding instances of Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage on the Northumbria Police website.  In order to be of further assistance I have provided the relevant links below.

http://www.northumbria.police.uk/advice_and_information/advice_and_support/Honour_Based_Violence/

http://www.northumbria.police.uk/advice_and_information/advice_and_support/Forced_Marriage/Index_2.asp

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.

http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/index.asp

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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029