Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
1. How many police officers serving with your force had a complaint of domestic violence made against them in each of the last three calendar years (i) 2018, (ii) 2019 and (iii) 2020?
2. In (i) how many of these cases was disciplinary action taken against the officer and (ii) was some sort of disciplinary sanction imposed on the officer?
3. For each case where a sanction was imposed please detail what this sanction was.
I am referring to all allegations of domestic violence.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Professional Standards Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows, with the following caveat noted:
You should note that where allegations are made against any employee of Northumbria Police, appropriate and thorough investigations are carried out in accordance with national guidance and the legal obligations imposed upon the organisation in respect of such matters. These investigations are not prejudiced in any way by the individuals employment status.
1. 2018 - 14
2019 - 3
2020 - 7
2. No disciplinary action was taken in 22 cases.
Ongoing investigations have been excluded from the above figures and by doing so we cite the following exemption:
Section 31- Law Enforcement (1)(g) by virtue of (2)(b)
As Section 31 is a prejudice-based, qualified exemption there is the requirement for us to articulate the harm that would be caused in disclosure well as considering the public interest test.
To release information regarding ongoing investigations could potentially undermine proceedings to determine whether the appellant was guilty or not. It is important that public authorities have the space to fully investigate and consider any matters in respect of improper conduct without fear of any speculation entering the public domain which may adversely influence lawful proceedings.
Factors favouring disclosure - Disclosure would provide a full representation of the facts or issue in question, thus maintaining public confidence in the force’s ability to deal with such investigations appropriately and responsibly. Disclosure would also promote greater openness and transparency.
Factors favouring Non-disclosure - To disclose this information could prejudice any proceedings which may arise. It is important that public authorities have the space to fully investigate and consider all aspects of alleged misconduct and that all investigations are conducted in a fair manner to ascertain whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper.
In conclusion I consider that the factors favouring non-disclosure outweigh the factors favouring disclosure and as such I will not be disclosing information relating to any ongoing investigations. Although it is important that the public are apprised of the nature of such matters and may observe the steps taken by Northumbria Police in respect of dealing with misconduct allegations (including any disciplinary action taken), I consider that when weighed against the risk of prejudicing the outcome, the factors favouring non-disclosure take precedence. Whilst we attempt to put a much information into the public domain as possible we will not do so if it would have an adverse impact on any investigations.
3. N/A and as above.
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.