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. The total number of serving police officers and PCSOs who have criminal convictions
2. The total number of serving police officers and PCSOs who have more than one criminal conviction
3. A breakdown of the convictions and rank of the officers concerned, for example one sergeant convicted of criminal damage; one constable convicted of criminal damage and assault
With regards to all parts of your request a definitive response to the requested information could only be retrieved by either checking the personal file of each officer as held by People Services, or searching for each officer on the Police National Computer (PNC) to establish if they had receive any criminal convictions prior to joining the force. To carry out either of these processes and provide a response to all parts of the request has been estimated to greatly exceed the permitted time threshold under the Act. With an excess of 3,300 police officers, even at a conservative estimate of 10 minutes per individual file, which has been considered reasonable, this would take in excess of 550 hours. As we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information would take over the permitted 18 hours, Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable. 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.
It should also be noted that had Section 12 not been fully applicable other exemptions would have been considered and applied, where relevant.
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. Therefore, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be the questions set out above but for convictions/cautions received whilst employed by Northumbria Police at the time.
You should note that exemptions may still be applied if deemed relevant/appropriate
If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.