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Employee Theft & Fraud - 1227/19

Date Responded 07 November 2019

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:

All information requested is for the time period of: 1st January-31st December 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and year to date 2019.

My requests are as follows:

  1. Do you record allegations of employee theft (definition under the Theft Act)?
  2. Do you record allegations of employee fraud (definition under the Fraud Act)?  The answers to 1 and 2 may be just an incident log. What are the recorded log / incident volumes (number of logs…..NOT CRIME NUMBERS)
  3. What are the recorded crime numbers for employee theft (definition under the Theft Act)? ( NOT TO INCLUDE INCIDENT LOGS NOT ALLOCATED A CRIME NUMBER)
  4. What are the recorded crime numbers for employee fraud (definition under the Fraud Act)? ( NOT TO INCLUDE INCIDENT LOGS NOT ALLOCATED A CRIME NUMBER)
  5. How many people were arrested for employee theft (definition under the Theft Act)?
  6. How many people were arrested for employee fraud (definition under the Fraud Act)?
  7. A breakdown of sentences for each individual of employee theft: fine, conditional discharge, community service order, suspended custodial sentence, custodial sentence.
  8. A breakdown of sentences for each individual of employee fraud: fine, conditional discharge, community service order, suspended custodial sentence, custodial sentence.
  9. Highest, lowest & average value of employee theft?
  10. Highest, lowest & average value of employee fraud?
  11. Number of reports where insufficient evidence to prosecute for employee theft.
  12. Number of reports where insufficient evidence to prosecute for employee fraud.
  13. Number of reports where ‘not in the public interest to prosecute’ for employee theft.
  14. Number of reports where ‘not in the public interest to prosecute’ for employee fraud.
  15. Which department is responsible for investigating allegations of employee theft and employee fraud.
  16. Number of females arrested for employee theft.
  17. Number of females arrested for employee fraud.
  18. Number of males arrested for employee fraud.
  19. Number of males arrested for employee fraud.

After we sought clarity you stated you were looking for data concerning employees in the general public arena.

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

To note – our reply is based on searches of the Home Office codes outlined in our response below.

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, in part, by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested for all 18 questions is not held in a format that allows its retrieval within the 18 hour time constraint.  Points 7 and 8 have been assessed as exceeding the permitted 18 hours in their own right.  Initial indications are that this could involve approximately 127 records, where a person has been charged with the relevant Home Office offences, that would need to be located and manually reviewed to extract sentence data.  Likewise points 9 and 10 would require a manual review of all crime records to ascertain the highest and lowest values.  For 2019 alone over 200 records would need to be manually reviewed.  This part alone, 2019 data, has been assessed as taking in excess of 25 hours.  (To note ‘average’ values are not held and we are not obliged to calculate just to offer a response to a request.) 

As we have estimated that to extract all the information requested would take well over the 18 hour threshold, Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable.  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.

As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request.  However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be points 1 and 2, points 3 and 4 can be answered and will be based on the number of recorded offences using the HO Codes below,  points 5 and 6  can be answered and will be based on the number of arrest records using the HO Codes below, points 11 - 14  can be answered and will be based on the MOD (method of disposal) of the recorded offence, point 15 can be provided, points 16 - 19 would be a breakdown by gender of the totals in points 5 and 6.

Home Office codes:

041/00 – Stealing by an employee

053/42 - Committing fraud by dishonestly abusing ones position

053/45 – Participating in fraudulent business carried on by sole trader

If what we have suggested above would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request.

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