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.
Please could you provide us with a list of all female victims of homicide killed between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022 (inclusive) which your authority has been responsible for investigating and, for each victim:
1. the date of the homicide;
2. the names of the victims and the accused / perpetrator;
3. the age of the victim;
4. the ethnicity/race of the victim;
5. the relationship between the accused and the victim;
6. the sex of the accused / perpetrator;
7. the ethnicity/race of the perpetrator;
8. if identified, the way in which the victim was killed;
Also, if possible, we would appreciate the following information.
9. whether there were any previous reports from the victim (or any third party) regarding the accused / perpetrator; and
10. whether there were any previous reports and / or convictions of any other offences related to violence against women perpetrated by the accused / perpetrator.
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 Crime Department 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.
Most of this information is already in the public domain.
No further information will be disclosed re the above case or any others that may be under investigation and by withholding we rely on the following exemption.
Section 30(1) (a) Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority
Section 30(1) states that information is exempt information if it has at any time been held for the purposes of any investigation. This exemption is a qualified and class based exemption and accordingly Northumbria Police does not need to carry out a harm test for this exemption. As section 30 is a qualified exemption the application of a public interest test is required and I have set this out below.
Public Interest Test
Factors Favouring Disclosure - Section 30
Disclosure would adhere to the basic principle of being open and transparent and would allow for a more accurate public debate. There is a legitimate public interest in knowing that the Force investigates cases thoroughly and brings investigations to satisfactory conclusions. The community at large may benefit from disclosure as this may encourage accurate and informed public debate. It would also correct rumour and speculation and provide confidence in the Force's ability to investigate any alleged offences.
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure - Section 30
Whilst such information may be released in order to serve a core policing purpose (i.e. to protect life and property and/or assist in prevention and detection of crime and/or in the apprehension and prosecution of offenders), it will only be disclosed if there are strong public interest considerations favouring disclosure. Northumbria Police has a duty to ensure all investigations are dealt with fairly and equally. It is important that any investigation is conducted appropriately to ensure the appropriate outcome. The public interest would not be served if a disclosure breaches those obligations placed on an authority. Whilst investigations are ongoing it is imperative that information that could potentially hinder those investigations, and consequently impact on law enforcement, should not be disclosed.
The Police Service is tasked with enforcing the law and protecting the community we serve and there is a public interest argument in ensuring we are open and transparent with regard to policing investigations. The ability of Northumbria Police to conduct such enquiries is crucial to the principles of prevention and detection of crime. From the issues outlined above any further disclosure other than that already provided would hinder those investigations and could impact on bringing offenders to justice. Whilst we put as much information into the public domain as we can, we would only do so where there is no risk to any investigations, which could then impact on the outcome. Any information that may jeopardise investigations, court cases or bringing offenders to justice should be avoided.
It is therefore our opinion that the balance lies in favour of non-disclosure of any further information at this time.