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.
For each calendar year from 2013, please breakdown the total number of children (U16) who have been at risk of child sexual exploitation that are being monitored by police.
Please include the total number, including breakdown:
A) Gender of victims
B) Age of victims
After we sought clarity you responded:
By monitored, I mean that they have had a case reported to them, and that they are monitoring the child's activity to ensure their safety/press charges at a later stage.
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 Safeguarding 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.
The information you are seeking is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hours. There is no specific offence of child sexual exploitation. Prosecutions are brought under a range of offences within the legislative framework to protect children from harm. The most common offences fall under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 however there are other offences such as those relating to the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003 which should be considered as they can also be commonly defined as committed in connection with CSE. Therefore a number of offences would require a manual review to establish which related to CSE. All concerns regarding children are recorded on the Northumbria Police Information & Communication system. Prior to 2017 the system did not provide the facility to highlight an individual at risk of sexual exploitation. Although the information is held, and available, a manual search of recorded crimes and Child Concern Notices would be required covering the period 2013 – 2017. This research would far exceed the permitted 18 hours and 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.
In 2017 the force introduced a ‘marker’ which officers are required to utilise in order to highlight any such crimes which relate to ‘sexual exploitation’. This marker does not differentiate between those crimes which relate to children. Should you require that data from April 2017, and provide a list of offences which you are interested in, it may be possible to extract that data if it would be useful to you.