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.
1. Please can you tell me how many arrests have been made by the police force for drug-related offences in each year over the last 10 years. Ideally calendar years, but if you group data based on financial years that’s fine too.
2. For each offence please also state the approximate location where the arrest took place i.e. village, town or area of a city.
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 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 time constraints. It is not possible to categorise the arrest location by area without a manual review of each record. In the time period of your request there have been 36,183 arrests. Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate extract and compile this information would take over 1,206 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 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, for the total number of arrests for any offence which falls under HO Classification ‘Drugs’ between 01/01/2007 and 31/12/2017. The information provided is for the offence location, however you must be aware that this will not always be the same as where the arrest took place as explained above in the Section 12 refusal.
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.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.
FOI 714-18 - Drug Arrests