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.
Can we please have the amount of crimes logged as a murder or homicide from 1 January 2017 to December 31 2017?
For each offence, can we please have the date of the offence, the street (or street postcode) in which it took place, and the sex, age and ethnicity of the victim.
And, where possible, can we have the sex, age and ethnicity of any person charged with murder.
Can we please have each offence broken down individually?
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.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as attached.
To note, any information with regards to on-going investigations will not be provided and we will rely on the following exemption.
S31(1)(a) Law Enforcement
Sections 31 is a prejudice based qualified exemption and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether information is held as well as considering the public interest.
To disclose any further information how the police service investigates crime and handles an investigation could cause subsequent harm to the Police service’s ability to protect the public it serves and could prejudice its ability to perform core functions such as law enforcement. Offenders would understand what actions the police may take in an investigation and seek to avoid detection or continue offending by exploiting this information.
Factors favouring disclosure
There is a strong public interest in knowing how the police service investigates and collates evidence in relation to offenders. Knowing that the police has appropriate steps in place to ensure the safety of the public and apprehend those committing such crimes would ensure that the public is confident in the police service ability to achieve this. Furthermore, if it is felt that the police is not appropriately taking steps to protect the public, the disclosure of this information would enable an informed discussion on the matter.
Section 31 factors against disclosure
The disclosure of information is directly related to an ongoing investigation. The disclosure of the information would enable offenders to understand actions taken by the police and would undermine future and current investigations. Offenders would be able to take steps to circumvent the actions taken by the police which would have a direct impact on ensuring the safety of the public and bringing offenders to court.
Although there is a public interest in knowing how the police investigate and safeguard victims, to disclose this information would undermine that process. There is already considerable information about how the police support and target offenders, through local or national initiatives and multi-agency working. However to provide the information would undermine investigations and would lead to offenders being able to avoid detection. This would increase the number of crimes committed and the number of victims. The police service has a duty to protect and the disclosure of this information would certainly have an effect on the police service’s ability to do so. After careful consideration it is therefore felt that the decision to exempt the information outweighs the public interest.
FOI 056-18 - Murder