Disclosure Details

Investigations - 900/12

Dated: 08 Jan 2013

Date of request:      15/11/2012

Date of response:   30/11/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 15 November 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: 

"I would like to know how many investigations have made use of Facebook in 2012.
Could I also have these figures for 2011, in 2010, 2009 and 2008?
For each of these years, how many of the investigations making use of Facebook resulted in a conviction?
What sort of offences were the convictions for? Ie. 50 cases of sexually abusing children, 45 cases of harrassment.
Can I have some examples of how Facebook was used in these investigations?

How many investigations have made use of social media sites generally in 2012?
And which social media sites specifically? Ie Twitter, Linkedin, Beebo etc
Could I also have these figures for 2011, in 2010, 2009 and 2008?
For each of these years, how many of the investigations making use of social media sites resulted in a conviction?
What sort of offences were the convictions for? Ie. 50 cases of sexually abusing children, 45 cases of harrassment.
Can I have some examples of how each social media site was used in these investigations?

Could you also tell me the total number of investigations carried out by Northumbria police in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008?"

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 both the Crime and Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held not held by Northumbria Police.

We do not hold any statistics on how many investigations made use of Facebook.  All crimes are investigated as a matter of course.  Around 42,500 Crimes have been recorded since 1 April 2012, each of which would require a manual viewing to establish if any involved Facebook.   Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information for that 7 month period alone would take over 1,410 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 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 crime 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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103