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Ancient monument sites - 242/18

Date Responded 20 March 2018

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:

“The information I seek is for the previous 5 years.

The information I would like is as follows;

1. Please advise the number of crimes in Northumbria reported on or in the immediate vicinity of Ancient Monuments as listed on the Schedule of Monuments kept by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The regime is set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (1).

2. List should show the location, type of crime, details of damage or items stolen. In each reported case please advise whether any arrests were made and if so, whether there were any prosecutions and if so what the outcome was in terms of verdict, fines or sentencing.

3. The number of incidents reported to the police at locations as per 1 above.

4. Any Policy or Procedure for Local Policing Teams response to incidents or criminal activity at locations as per 1 above.

5. If these locations are included in any policing patrol plan what are the details of the policing activity.

6. What training do officers receive in respect of Policing locations as per 1 above or Heritage related crime in general.” 

In our acknowledgement we clarified that we were defining ‘the previous 5 years’ as calendar years 2013 - 2017 

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 Corporate Development Department, Learning and Development Unit and each of the  3  Area Commands of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons. 

The information requested at question 1 is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  We have looked on the historic England website for a list of scheduled monuments.  Within our Force area there are 1016 such sites.  As we do not have an address base to search against, we would need to use our street address system and we would then have to assess each one of those individually and then further document any crimes at that location.  As questions 2 and 3 rely on the information from question 1, the same would apply.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per address, we have estimated that to extract this information would take 50 hours to extract, 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 your request. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request. 

4. No information held. We do not hold any such policies or procedures

5.There are currently no such locations included in any policing patrol plan.  However if information suggested a location was at risk it would be responded to appropriately through usual tasking processes and considered like any other site/building or location and the plan tailored accordingly.

6.Officers do not receive training on this specific piece of legislation.  Officers are of course taught, assessed and well-practiced in dealing with volume crime offences such as Criminal Damage, but this act refers to the destruction or damage of monuments designated as such by the Secretary of State. NP officers would deal with any reports of such damage, but would primarily use the Criminal Damage offence. 

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