Disclosure Details

Mental health detainees - 909/13

Dated: 03 Jan 2014

Date of request:   25/11/2013

Date of response:  03/01/14

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

Thank you for your email dated 25 November 2013 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 request the following under Freedom of Information:

  1. How many people have been detained under the Mental Health Act for each of the last five years 

  2. How long were they held in police custody before they were assessed by health services 

  3. How many incidents have been recorded on STORM as a lack of ambulance available for the transportation of mentally ill persons, in each of the last five years           

  4. Please include details why such an ambulance was not available

To clarify I'm asking for the number of people detained under section 136 and calendar years (if available).   

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 Strategy and Performance Unit Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reason.

The information you have requested at points 1 and 2  is not held centrally or in a format that would allow extraction within the 18 hour prescribed time limit.

An initial search has brought up over 6,300 incidents with a 'Mental Health' final incident qualifying code from January to November 2013 alone.

To establish a response to 1 and 2 would require manual review of every such incident recorded. 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 2013 to November alone  would take over 315 hours. Incidents for previous years within the five year time period you specified would also need to be reviewed adding further time, 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.

Additionally I can advise that Northumbria Police do not record incidents on STORM (Northumbria Police do not use STORM), and the reasons for the unavailability of ambulances are not routinely recorded on police logs.

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 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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103