Disclosure Details

Underage Drinking - 280/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:   13/ 03/2012

Date of response:  22/03/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated  13 March  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: 

Since 1 January  2009, how many cautions and arrests have been made in relation to underage drinking. This regards 12-17 year olds.

Since the same period  how many prosecutions have been made in relation to underage drinking. This regards 12-17 year olds.

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 Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however can not be disclosed for the following reasons.

This information is not held in an easily retrievable format.  There are several ways in which instances of underage drinking can be dealt with.

Those found to be drinking under age may have had their details taken and a letter sent to their parents from either the Neighbourhood Inspector or a Senior Officer.  If the person is spoken to under normal policing duties they are likely to have the alcohol poured away and the bottle/can disposed of.  If given a caution in the street this may then be recorded in the pocket notebook of the officer.

Consideration was also given to using 'Stop Only' records in an effort to provide you with information relevant to your request however initial searches brought up over 32,000 such stops where the reason for the stop was to "Investigate suspected Crime/Disorder Anti-Social Behaviour".  Each record would then need to be viewed to see if it relates to underage drinking.

Incidents where the closing code relates to "Youth related and alcohol involved" were also considered, however for this financial year alone there are 3,345 incidents.  Again each record would need to be viewed to establish if it related to the questions posed.

Therefore, to provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually searching over 36,000 records for one financial year alone.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 1,800 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.

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 public interest.  The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.  I have provided the relevant link below.


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.


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