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Date Responded 17 August 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:

1)         How many times has a person arrested by your Police Force been detained for more than 24 hours whilst waiting for a mental health trust to carry out an assessment of the person concerned for the years:

a.         2014

b.         2015

c.         2016

d.         2017

e.         2018 so far

 

2)         How many times has your Police Force used Section 136 of the Mental Health Act to detain somebody who was already in police custody for the years:

a.         2014

b.         2015

c.         2016

d.         2017

e.         2018 so far

 

3)         How many times has a person detained by your Police Force under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act been held more than 24 hours waiting for a mental health trust to carry out an assessment of the person concerned for the years:

a.         2014

b.         2015

c.         2016

d.         2017

e.         2018 so far

 

Please breakdown the figures given by the a) age of the detainee; b) gender of the detainee; c) the reason for the delay and for Q1 & 3 - the total time each detainee was held in police custody.

 

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 Custody and Corporate Development Departments 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 held statistically, nor is it held in a format that allows its retrieval within the permitted time constraints. We do not arrest people for Section 136.  Until the change in legislation at the beginning of the year, 136 could only be used in public places.  If an individual is awaiting a MH assessment or has been detained under the MHA whilst in custody, it will be logged manually on the custody record which  is not searchable. Initial searches carried out for 2017 indicated there were over 31,000 arrests.  Each of those custody records would have to be manually reviewed to see if the information had been recorded.  We then did another search on the Electronic Custody Record (ECR) system for 2017 alone using the ‘self-harm/suicidal’ marker which brought back 2,196 possible detainees.(This still does not mean it would fit the criteria of your request and will be very inaccurate) These would also require a manual review.  This would be considerably more for the other years.  Additionally, we do not have ECR data for 2014.   Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, (31,000 arrests) which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate extract and compile this information would take over 2,583 hours and for the 2,196 ECR records, this would take 183 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 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.

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