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Date Responded 18 February 2020

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.

You asked:

  1. A year by year breakdown of the number of times police were called to seize or confiscate illegal drugs from school premises in the period from 1st Jan 2019 to 31st December 2019. Schools include; primary school, secondary school, academies and sixth form colleges.
  2. What was the type of drug involved on each occasion?
  3. What was the amount or volume of the drug involved on each occasion?
  4. What was the gender of the person it was seized from on each occasion?
  5. How old was the person it was seized from on each occasion? Please specify in the following age ranges: 0-11, 12-16, or 17+

In Response:

Please note that this request has been aggregated with your previous request (FOI 116/20) with regards to time constraints under the Act, as they refer to the same subject area – Drugs in Schools.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Corporate Development and Crime Departments of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows, however the following caveats should be noted:

Personal information (eg gender, age) may not be recorded on every crime, this response discounts any such cases within the demographic breakdown but not within the initial crime count.

Offender details are not readily available for incidents, meaning that this is based purely on any cases that have become crimes.

  1. In 2019 there were 90 such incidents.

2.

Drug

No

Cannabis

42

Ketamine

1

MDMA

6

Acid

1

POPF

1

LSD

1

Cocaine

1

Unknown

10

No drugs

2

 

3. During the period from 1 January to 5 April 2019:

There were 6 counts of herbal cannabis being recovered.

Two of these seizures amounted to 2 grammes recovered.

One of these seizures amounted to 4 grammes recovered.

One of these seizures amounted to 1 grammes recovered.

One of these seizures amounted to 28 grammes recovered.

One of these seizures amounted to 0.2 grammes recovered.

There was 1 account of cannabis resin being recovered.

This seizures amounted to 1 grammes recovered.

There was 1 account of MDMA being recovered.

This consisted of 4 tablets.

There were 12 cases wherein an unidentified substance was found, no drugs were found or drug paraphernalia was found.

In some of these, the school in question had already acted to destroy drug paraphernalia.

For the period 6 April – 31 December 2019 there were 41 cases the information regarding these cases is due to be published in November 2020, within the Seizures of Drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2019/20 Report, therefore the below exemption has been considered and applied as appropriate.

Section 22 Information Intended for future publication

(1) Information is exempt information if -

(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),

(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time the request for information was made, and

(c) it is reasonable in all circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to.

This exemption requires us to apply a Public Interest Test to decide if the information you require should be released ahead of the scheduled report.

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure:-

Disclosure of information for the specified period would enable the public to be better informed of such information, as this enables more accurate and relevant public comment and debate to take place.

Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure:-

The exemption engaged in this case specifically requires us to simply look at the public interest in delaying the release of information that will automatically be disclosed in the future.  As it is know that this information will be published at a later date, to gather the information prior to the requirement to do so for the next scheduled publication, in order to answer this request would not be an efficient use of resources as it would divert staff from their core duties and would involve a disproportionate use of resources, particularly at this time of economic concerns.

Balance Test

It is acknowledged that both accountability and public awareness are enhanced by the disclosure of this type of information.  However, this will be achieved through the publication of this information.

The Section 22 exemption was specifically laid down by Parliament to benefit those authorities who proactively publish information.  To constantly produce new and up to date elements of currently published or information intended for future publication in an attempt to satisfy an additional need outside of the annual schedule would render these exemptions less effective and remove the benefits of proactive publication.  For this reason it would be an inappropriate use of resources to carry out further research to satisfy your request.

Decision

At this time, for the reasons outlined above, the public interest is met by the scheduled publication of this data. 

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 you should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.

4.

Gender

No

Male

18

Female

1

 

5.

Age

No

0 - 11

0

12 - 16

17

17+

1

 

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