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.
Please can you tell me on how many occasions over the past three years a criminal offence between two family members (i.e. the alleged victim has reported a family member to the police for an action - either physical violence or abuse of any kind - against them) has been reported to the force but the case was ultimately dropped because the victim failed to cooperate.
For each incident please can you list the offence the person was accused of, the date it was reported and the family relationship between the alleged victim and the accused.
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 only type of crime that we can search on regarding 'family relationship' is domestic violence and there are only 2 categories, 'partner/ex-partner' and 'family'. In the first three months of 2018 there were in excess of 3,240 incidents of domestic violence where the outcomes were Investigation Complete - No suspect identified, Victim declines or is unable to identify suspect or Victim does not support police action . Each of these incidents would have to be reviewed to establish a response to your request. This cannot be achieved within the 18 hour time constraints and has been estimated to take in excess of 160 hours. Section 12 is therefore relevant.