Disclosure Details

Incidents in schools - 596/16

Dated: 02 Jun 2016

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

Thank you for your e mail dated 12 May  2016 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.

You asked:

1) the number of violent incidents in primary and secondary schools reported to your force during the last five years.

2) the number of drugs offences in primary and secondary schools reported to your force during the last five years.

3) the number of sexual offences in primary and secondary schools reported to your force during the last five years.

4) the number of pupils found with a weapon at primary and secondary schools during the last five years. 

On 12/05/16 you clarified that at points 1 2 and 3 you were seeking the number of incidents, that you mean within the grounds of primary and secondary schools, and that by weapon you mean anything recorded on our log onto the tag 'weapon'.

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 for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held in a format that allows extraction within the permitted time constraints of the Act.  For the time period requested there are in excess of 28,000 incidents recorded where the premises are stated as being first school, primary school, secondary school, middle school, or  high school.  Each of those incidents would require manual review, in order to provide accurate data,  to establish if any were relevant to your request.  Whilst there are opening codes for  instances of violence or sexual or sexual offences, there is no search facility for drug incidents  ( a violent offence for instance may also refer to drug offences ).  This search criteria would also be required to establish a response at point 4 regarding weapons.   Even at a conservative estimate of 1 minute per record, which we have considered as a reasonable minimum,  we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 466 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. 

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, even for a considerably shorter time period for incidents.

If you change the data required to crimes, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions  1-4 for a two year period only.

If that would be useful you may wish to refine and resubmit your request for crimes only. 

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.

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.