Disclosure Details

Digital Forensic Examination - 328/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:  28/03/2012

Date of response:   20/04/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated  28 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:

 For the period 2010 – 2011 and the period 2011 to date.

  1. How much money does your force spend on outsourcing mobile phone examinations/analysis?

  2. Who do they outsource to?

  3. How many suppliers do they use?

  4. How many suppliers did they consider when last outsourcing

  5. What is the unit price of a mobile phone examination, (please give specific examples if it’s not a single price for the mobile phones)

  6. Which departments budget does it come out of?

  7. Who oversees the outsourcing (i.e. HTCU manager / forensics manager / scientific support manager / IT Manager).

  8. What other contracts does your force have with the companies they outsource phones to

  9. How much are these contracts for annually?

  10. What is the satisfaction level for current outsourcing practises, (HTCU manager, Forensics Manager, Finance Manager, Scientific Support Manager, Officers requesting the work to be done)

  11. How much money does your force spend on outsourcing computer examinations/analysis?

  12. Who do they outsource to?

  13. How many suppliers do they use?

  14. How many suppliers did they consider when last outsourcing

  15. What is the unit price of a computer examination, (please give specific examples if its not a single price for the computers)

  16. Which departments budget does it come out of?

  17. Who oversees the outsourcing (i.e. HTCU manager / forensics manager / scientific support manager / IT Manager).

  18. What other contracts does your force have with the companies they outsource computers to

  19. How much are these contracts for annually?

  20. What is the satisfaction level for current outsourcing practises, (HTCU manager, Forensics Manager, Finance Manager, Scientific Support Manager, Officers requesting the work to be done)

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 Crime and Finance Departments of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have decided to disclose the located information to you in part as follows.

1. 2010/11 - £45,340.30

      2011/12 - £4,671.88

 These figures include all mobile telephone associated analysis.  Please note in 2011/12 a lot more routine analysis was done "in-house".

3. Two main suppliers.

4. Investigators are requested to supply two quotes.

6. Scientific Support.

7. Detective Inspector (Head of Scenes of Crime).

9. As above in question 1.

10.  Satisfied.

11. Nil for the period specified. Digital enhancement and body mapping of images recovered from computerised CCTV systems have not  been included in the scope of this request.

13. N/A.

14. N/A

16. Scientific Support.

17. Detective Inspector (Head of Scenes of Crime).

19. As above in question 11.

20. This is not data that is currently recorded.

With regards to questions 2, 5, 8, 12, 15 and 18 we shall not be disclosing the requested information and by doing so we shall rely on the following exemption

S43 (2) Commercial Interests

The information at these parts is exempt by virtue of S43 Commercial Interests which is a class based and qualified exemption, meaning that there is no requirement to communicate the harm in disclosure, but it is subject to the Public Interest Test (PIT) which is set out below.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure:

Accountability for Public Funds

Disclosing the costs would show to the public that an authority is spending public money wisely and effectively and that we have effective processes in place.

Public Debate

The cost to the local community for the police service that they receive is always the subject of public debate.  Any information which would aid the accuracy of that debate would be of positive benefit to all parties involved.

Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure:

Interests of Third Parties

Sensitive commercial information such as these costs may adversely affect the interests of the supplier involved.

Efficient and Effective Conduct of the Service

Disclosure of this information is likely to damage the relationship between the authority and the supplier involved.  This may in the future reduce the number of companies tendering therefore reducing the opportunities to purchase the most efficient and cost effective service and equipment.

Disclosure of the costs may cause a breach of the confidences surrounding the current contract.  Although not sufficient at present for the  confidential information exemptions to be engaged, there is still risk that disclosure could leave an authority at risk of civil proceedings.

Balancing Test

Before deciding which of these arguments is most compelling a balancing test needs to be completed.  In this case the right of the public to know needs to be weighed against the damage caused to the supplier and ultimately the authority itself.

The accountability for public funds is a powerful argument.  However this is offset by the fact that the authority is already subject to a financial audit and is therefore already held accountable for the money that it spends.  This process will not be enhanced by a disclosure under FOIA.

The fact that the police service uses tried and tested procurement processes ensures that the public get good value for money.  This would not be enhanced by the disclosure of this information.  To disclose the costs in relation to one particular supplier may, in the future, discourage that supplier from working with the Force, which may in turn be detrimental to the procurement process and the community as a whole.  Therefore on balance at this time, the public interest test does not favour disclosure.

In addition to the above, in the relatively few number of cases where outside expertise may be utilised it has been assessed that providing the names of individuals or companies involved could render them liable to the uninvited attention of criminal groups.  There is a possibility that criminal groups could attempt to infiltrate the organisations involved or coerce staff into tampering with evidence.  Alternatively, in the belief that key evidence in a criminal investigation is located on the premises of such organisation, there may be an attempt to break into such premises.

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for those parts of your request.

Northumbria Police can neither confirm nor deny that any additional information is held in relation to the questions of external resourcing and workload by virtue of the following exemptions:-

Section 23(5) Information supplied by or concerning certain Security Bodies
Section 30(3) Investigations
Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Confirmation or denial of the mere existence of investigation material or the involvement of exempt FOIA bodies will in itself provide exempt information into the public domain.  It is therefore appropriate to follow this course of action under the auspices of Section 17(4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

This should not be taken as an inference that the information you have requested is or is not held by the force. 

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