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:

Please can you tell me how many investigations under the Fraud Act 2006 or conspiracy to defraud under the Criminal Law Act 1977 involving phone or mobile phone fraud were undertaken by your officers for the Calendar years;

  1. 2017
  2. 2018
  3. 2019 to date

Please can you give me figures for the outcomes (arrests, charged etc) of the investigations identified in the answers Q1 a) - c).

In Response:

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

Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:

A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.

I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) 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.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  For the time period requested there are in excess of 7,000 offences that relate to fraud.  Each of those would need to be manually reviewed to establish if any involved ‘phone or mobile phone fraud’.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract any information that may be held would take over 350 hours.  Section 12 is therefore relevant.

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