Disclosure Details

Sex offenders - 226/13

Dated: 17 Apr 2013

Date of request:     18/03/2013

Date of response:   17/04/2013

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

Thank you for your email dated 18 March 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: 

  1. How many requests from registered sex offenders to be removed from the Sex Offenders Register has the force considered since the law was changed last year allowing appeals?

  2. How many has it approved (ie allowed to be removed from the register).

  3. In cases where a request was approved, what was the individuals’ original offence - ie the crime for which they were placed on the register.

  4. In each where a request was approved, can you tell me if the victim or victims were contacted to ask for their views?

  5. In each case where a request was approved, can you tell me the name of the sex offender concerned. 

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 Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

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

1. As of 10th April 2013 we have had a total of 10 requests from registered sex offenders to be removed from the register.

2. Of those 10 requests, 7 have been approved and have been removed from the register and 3 are currently being considered.

3.  We shall not be disclosing the information requested at this part of your request and by doing so will rely on the following exemptions.

Section 40 (2) - Personal Information

Section 40 (2) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure. That being said where Section 40(2) is engaged in order to make the exemption absolute there needs to be evidence that a data protection principle would be breached by disclosure. In this case it would not be fair to process information which, we believe by providing all the information you have requested, could lead to the identification of an individual. Therefore the first principle of the Data Protection Act would be breached.

Section 44(1) - Prohibitions on Disclosure

Section 44 (1) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure. The Sexual Offences Act 1992,  extends the anonymity that was once given only to victims of rape, to victims of most other sexual offences.  Due to the low numbers and as a result of assessment of each case we have considered that this information will not be disclosed.

4.The Police service has been criticised in the past for contacting past victims and 'opening wounds'.  Accordingly Northumbria Police comply with the national guidance and therefore victims will not and have not been contacted as a matter of course, although each case is taken on its own merits.  New victims from recent court cases (from March 2013) will be given the opportunity to register their details which will be held on ViSOR if they want to be consulted when the RSO applies to come off notification requirements. Please note that the onus is on the victim to keep the police informed of their contact details for these purposes. 

5. We shall not be disclosing the information requested at this part and in withholding this information we shall be relying on the following exemption:-

Section 40 (2) - Personal Information

Section 40 (2) is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure. That being said where Section 40(2) is engaged in order to make the exemption absolute there needs to be evidence that a data protection principle would be breached by disclosure. In this case it would not be fair to process information which, we believe by providing all the information you have requested, could lead to the identification of an individual. Therefore the first principle of the Data Protection Act would be breached.

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.

Downloads

FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103