Serving Officers & Staff With Convictions - 781/21

Date Responded 16 June 2021

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.

You asked:

1. For each PCSO, constable (including specials), sergeant, inspector, and other police staff member who has been convicted of or cautioned regarding a criminal offence, and whom you currently employ, please state:
a. Their rank;
b. Year of conviction(s)/caution(s);
c. The crime(s) they were convicted of/cautioned regarding;
d. Whether they received a custodial sentence(s);
e. Whether the conviction(s) occurred before they were hired by your force, or in the course of their employment with you?

In Response:

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, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

Your refined request is substantially similar to your initial request (FOI 534/210 refers) and as such our response remains basically unchanged.

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.

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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.

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