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 provide details of the following, for the period from the beginning of 2018 to date, ideallly broken down by quarter:-
- The number of occasions on which your officers have discovered what you believe to be cryptocurrency "farms" or "mines", namely equipment assembled and used for the generation of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
- The number of occasions on which said discoveries have led to one or more prosecutions.
- The number of reports you have received of alleged crimes in which cryptocurrency has been a factor and any sub-categories that these reports may fall into (e.g. fraud, drug dealing, theft etc).
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Performance Review Department 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.
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at question 3 would entail a member of staff manually searching all drug, fraud and theft crimes totalling some 12,070 records. Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 402 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 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 below, relative to your request, 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.
1-2. No information held. Relevant searches have revealed that there have been no cryptocurrency ‘farms’ or ‘mines’ uncovered during any of the years specified by your request, and as such no prosecutions.