Date Responded 04 July 2018

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:

For the past 5 year – 2013 – 2017 separated by year:

  1. The number of disseminations from the National Fraud Investigation Bureau.
  2. The number of these cases which ended in a positive outcome (eg. arrest, charge). 

In Response:

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

The information requested at question 1, specifically for the year 2013 is held, however we are unable to provide the data as the database which had the information recorded is no longer available.  In order to obtain the data it would require a search of all fraud classifications to determine the number of crimes recorded.  From those, every crime number would need to be manually examined to determine which crimes were raised as a result of an NFIB. This would exceed the 18 hour time limit.  

Additionally with regards to question 2, the positive outcomes are sent back to NFIB when a crime is finalised.  It is not done in a format where it is easy to ascertain in yearly format.  (i.e.  It is not uncommon for a crime recorded in 2014, which is not finalised until mid 2015).  The format is not compatible with providing accurate information.  There were a total of 634 referrals received for 2014, 2016 and 2017, and each crime number would need to be examined to ascertain the outcome of each investigation.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take well over 31 hours, therefore 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 your request. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to question 1 of your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request. 

2014 – 225 NFIB referrals were received.

2015 – see explanation below.

2016 – 230 NFIB referrals were received.

2017 – 179 NFIB referrals received 

With regards to data for 2015: 

As 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.

This information is freely available via the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log, FOI 969/16 refers and the link to the Log is provided below. 

In addition to the above Northumbria Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to your request as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following exemption: 

Section 23(5) Information relating to the Security bodies

Section 23 is an absolute class-based exemption and therefore there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test 

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