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Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme - 038/20

Date Responded 21 January 2020

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. In relation to the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, otherwise known as "Sarah's Law", how many requests has your force received asking if someone who has sufficient access to children has a sex offender's record in the 2019 calendar year?
  2. (i) In how many of these requests did the subject have a sex offender's record AND you disclosed the conviction to an interested party? (ii) Of these positive returns how many of the individuals were registered sex offenders.
  3. (i) In how many of these requests did the subject have a sex offender's record AND you did NOT disclose the conviction to an interested party? (ii) In how many of these cases was the subject a registered sex offender.
  4. Of the first ten cases from 1.3.2019 onwards where you disclosed an offender's record please state the main/primary offence that caused concern?

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

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 your request.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  In excess of 300 Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme applications were received in 2019.  Each record would need to be manually reviewed to provide a response.  This exercise has been estimated as taking in excess of 50 hours, therefore Section 12 is applicable

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