Date Responded 08 April 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:

Please note that questions 1 and 2 differ from questions 3 and 4 as the former concern cases where the victim was not working for the police, while the latter concern cases where the victim was working for the police. It is assumed (but not known) that the response for question 3 will be zero.
This request concerns the number of cases rather than the number of allegations, given that each recorded case can include more than one allegation.
This request concerns cases initially logged between April 2017 and March 2021 inclusive. In this request, ‘upheld’ means the allegations were found to be true (or substantially true). Sexual offences need not have been committed specifically against women in order to fall within the scope of this request.
Please provide the following information, broken down by financial year:

1. The number of complaints (not internal conduct matters) of alleged sexual misconduct and/or violence against women - including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape - lodged against serving police officers, PCSOs, and special constables between April 2017 and March 2021, where the alleged victim was not someone working for the police (i.e. police officer, non-officer staff, PCSO, special constable, or volunteer).
2. The number of internal conduct matters concerning alleged sexual misconduct and/or violence against women - including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape - lodged against serving police officers, PCSOs, and special constables between April 2017 and March 2021, where the alleged victim was not someone working for the police (as defined in question 1).
3. The number of complaints (not internal conduct matters) of alleged sexual misconduct and/or violence against women - including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape - lodged against serving police officers, PCSOs, and special constables between April 2017 and March 2021, where the alleged victim was someone working for the police (as defined in question 1).
4. The number of internal conduct matters concerning alleged sexual misconduct and/or violence against women - including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape - lodged against serving police officers, PCSOs, and special constables between April 2017 and March 2021, where the alleged victim was someone working for the police (as defined in question 1).
Please provide the data for questions 5 to 12 broken down by the year the case was initially logged in.
5. The number of complaints referred to in response to question 1 where the complaint was upheld, and the number that are still pending.
6. The number of internal conduct matters referred to in response to question 2 where the allegation was upheld, and the number that are still pending.
7. The number of complaints referred to in response to question 3 where the complaint was upheld, and the number that are still pending.
8. The number of internal conduct matters referred to in response to question 4 where the allegation was upheld, and the number that are still pending.
9. The number of complaints referred to in response to question 5 where the accused had their employment (or equivalent for PCSOs etc) terminated as a result, or where the accused resigned prior to the conclusion of proceedings.
10. The number of internal conduct matters referred to in response to question 6 where the accused had their employment (or equivalent for PCSOs etc) terminated as a result, or where the accused resigned prior to the conclusion of proceedings.
11. The number of complaints referred to in response to question 7 where the accused had their employment (or equivalent for PCSOs etc) terminated as a result, or where the accused resigned prior to the conclusion of proceedings.
12. The number of internal conduct matters referred to in response to question 8 where the accused had their employment (or equivalent for PCSOs etc) terminated as a result, or where the accused resigned prior to the conclusion of proceedings.
13. Please provide any readily available summaries of the cases covered by questions 1 to 4 that were upheld (specifying, if possible, whether in each case the accused left the police force's employment)

 

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.
The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. This is particularly relevant where you ask for ‘violence against women’. To provide a response to this query alone, for point one only, would require in excess of 230 complaints from female complainants during the time frame requested which contain an allegation of ‘use of force’ to be manually reviewed to establish if any met the specific criteria of this submission. (Such complaints can cover quite a broad nature of issues for example, ‘handcuffs applied too tight’ to ‘being a witness to an incident of use of force’ ) Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information alone would take over 19 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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 your request.

As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request. However, 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 as above but limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape only.
If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

You should note that other exemptions may be applicable to any resubmission if deemed necessary.

 

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