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Date Responded 02 April 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:

Please could you provide us with a list of all female victims of homicide killed between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 (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  if identified, the way in which the victim was killed;

Also, if possible we would appreciate the following information.

8  whether there were any previous reports from the victim (or any third party) regarding the accused / perpetrator; and

9  whether there were any previous reports and / or convictions of any other offences related to violence against women perpetrated by the accused / perpetrator.

However, if you are unable to provide information on points 8 and 9, please provide information on the first seven points only.

In Response:

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 by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you in part as follows.

As most of the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

The murder of Odessa Carey was well publicised both locally and nationally.

A response to points 1-3 & 5-7 are in the public domain and therefore freely available. We have provided the link to the Northumbria Police website below, however there are other press releases also available.

With regards to points 4, 8 & 9:

4  White European

8  Yes

9  No

Additionally as there are other crimes which fall within the scope of this submission currently being investigated, the following exemption has  been applied as relevant.

Section 30 - Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority  (1) (a) (b)

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. 

Factors Favouring Disclosure

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

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 with regard to confidentiality and privacy.  The public interest would not be served if a disclosure breached those obligations placed on an authority. If we were to disclose details of crimes which are still under investigation  the potential to undermine any criminal proceedings would be significant.  Any information that could affect an investigation should be exempt. 

Balancing Test

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 investigations is crucial to the principles of prevention and detection of crime.  The disclosure  of  information relating to any ongoing investigations would impact on those investigations in a negative way and the small benefit in increased public awareness would not be adequate compensation for such disclosure to be made public.  Although the public is entitled to be kept informed, this does not outweigh the forces obligations  in the prevention and detection of crime or ensuring the Criminal Justice system and any future trail is not compromised.

From the issues outlined above any disclosure relating to ongoing investigations lies in favour of non-disclosure.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you should consider this as a refusal for this part of your request.

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