Burglaries and Stolen Christmas Presents - 1387/19

Date Responded 13 November 2019

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. The total number of domestic burglaries reported to police between December 1, 2014 to December 25, 2014? Can you also tell me that same figure for the same time period for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018?
  2. Of the figures, can you please tell me how many Christmas presents were reported to have been stolen?
  3. And, if possible, what were the presents?
  4. And, again if possible, what is the total value of the presents/items stolen from domestic addresses for the time periods given?

In Response:

With regards to points 2 – 4 of your request – the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:

A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.

I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) 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 that part of your request.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

The fact that stolen items were presents or gifts is not a specific piece of information that we would record.  It might appear in an incident log or crime investigation if the officer thought it was relevant to the offence.  For the  two week period prior to 25 December in 2016 alone there were 249 recorded offences of burglary relating to non-commercial properties.  Each of these would require manual review to establish if any had recorded any items stolen as 'Christmas presents'.  Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information for that short time period alone would take over 20 hours.  Section 12(2) is therefore appropriate.

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, 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 question 1.

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

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