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.
I wish to request information about the number of dangerous/illicit weapons confiscated from local schools. Specifically, I would please like information on the following points:
- How many dangerous/ illicit weapons has your force confiscated from schools in each of the past five calendar years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014?
- These figures should be broken down by type of weapon and the school from which they were confiscated: e.g. 20 bladed weapons were confiscated from X school in 2018 (include school address).
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 in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. There are many objects that can be classed as a weapon. To establish what items were confiscated would require a manual review of each crime where the location had been recorded as a school. Initial indications are that for the time period requested there have been in excess of 700 crimes relating to schools where a weapon has been recorded as part of the crime. Each of those would require a manual review to extract the relevant detail requested. Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract the information requested would exceed 60 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.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.