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.
The number of vehicle-related thefts reported to your police force in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
i) Of those vehicle related thefts the number classified as "theft of vehicle" i.e. where the vehicle is driven away illegally in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
ii) The make and model of the car stolen in question 2 i) in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
iii) Of those cars stolen in question 2 i) how many were cars with "Keyless" or "remote access" to the vehicle in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
iv) Of those cars stolen in question 2 i) the method of entry used to access the vehicle in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
Summary details on all vehicle related thefts - including any mention of "keyless" or "remote" access to the car in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
Outcome of all police investigations in to vehicle related thefts, i.e. suspect charged, no further action, etc in each of the last 3 years (2015, 2016, 2017).
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 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.
The information requested is not held centrally nor in a format that allows its retrieval within the permitted 18 hour threshold. In order to provide a response to point 2iii and 2iv, there have been in excess of 1,500 incidents of theft of a motor vehicle. In order to answer this, we would have to read through each of the crimes to establish if the vehicle was a car, so discounting other vehicles such as vans, lorries etc, and then to further establish if it was keyless. (to avoid doubt we have interpreted ‘keyless car thefts’ to mean those vehicles operated by remote rather than key). Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record we have estimated this part alone as exceeding 75 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 that part of 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 questions 1, 2 i), ii), and 4, however, this would depend on the following as we require clarity.
You start your request asking for ‘vehicle related’ thefts. This would include thefts from vehicles as well as thefts of vehicles, however, your questions then relate to car theft (TWOC). It would help us when you resubmit your request if you let us know if your request is solely for ‘car thefts’ or do you want us to include thefts from cars. Also, TWOC is not just concerned with cars, it also includes motorcycles etc. Could let us know if ‘cars’ is the only type of vehicle that you are interested in.
Taking into consideration how you answer the above, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.