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.
I would like to know how many financial crimes were reported to your force within the year starting 1st March 2019 and the year starting 1st March 2020.
If possible, please break the number of reports down by month and also type of crime, for example, online fraud, courier fraud etc, and the number of people charged in each category.
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 already held statistically not is it held in a format that would allow its extraction from systems within the permitted 18 hour threshold. There are a number of financial offences that we can search on, however the type of crime that your seem to be interested in are action fraud crimes. All action fraud crimes have a HO Code of 050/00 or 050/01. An initial search of the central database shows that in the fiscal year of 2019/20 there were 1,883 of this type of offence. All of these would have to be manually reviewed to find those that were financially motivated. Even at a conservative estimate of 4 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate extract and compile this information as requested would take over 125 hours. Additional time would then be required to break the number of reports down by month, crime type and the number of people charged in each category as per your submission. As this would far exceed the permitted 18 hours, 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 for your request.
When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.