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Newcastle Airport Incidents & Crimes - 458/20

Date Responded 24 March 2020

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:

The information requested is, at Newcastle Airport, in 2017, 2018 and 2019:

  1. How many police logs were created as a result of a call to the police to the airport (i.e. not including any internal tasking logs)?
  2. How many people were arrested in total for each year at the airport?
  3. How many of these arrests (in point 2) were relating to offences committed at the airport, for each year?
  4. For arrests which occurred at the airport, please provide the reason for arrest broken down for each year.
  5. For each arrest relating to an offence which occurred at the airport, please state where within the airport that these arrests occurred (i.e. at gate, in aircraft, in departure lounge, etc.)

In Response:

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 in part by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows with the caveats below noted.

Any instances where  the location field may have been superseded by a more specific location, ie petrol station, restaurant etc, have not been counted.  Only cases which have been explicitly noted as having occurred at Newcastle airport have been provided.

These are as follows.

1 , 2, & 3.

                        Calls                Arrests


2017                184                  13

2018                148                  16

2019                180                    9


All arrests were for offences at airport

4.At this point we are taking it that by ‘reason’ your referring to the offence the individual was arrested for.






Arson not endangering life




Making off without payment




Assault without injury




Possession of controlled drugs (Cannabis)




Other Notifiable Offences




Public fear, alarm or distress




Non Crime




Burglary in a dwelling (excluding attempted, distraction and attempted distraction burglary)




Racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress




Trafficking in controlled drugs




Burglary in a building other than a dwelling (OTD)




Theft from vehicle




Other notifiable offences (class 98/99)




Endangering life




Possession of other weapons




Assault with Injury




Sexual offence




Criminal damage to a dwelling




Other theft








Absconding from lawful custody









5. No information held.  The information is not recoded down to this level

Additionally we can neither confirm nor deny that any further information is held 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 exemptions:

Section 23(5) Information supplied by or concerning certain Security Bodies

Section 24(2) National Security

Section 30(3) Investigations

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest.

Section 30 is a class based qualified exemption which requires the public interest in the appropriate of neither confirming nor denying information is held to be considered.

With Sections 24 and 31 being prejudice based qualified exemptions, both evidence of harm and public interest considerations need to be articulated to the applicant.

Harm in Confirming or Denying that Information is held

To confirm or deny whether any further crimes have taken place would identify other incidents which may or may not have occurred within individual force areas.

Whilst it is vitally important that information sharing takes place with other police forces and security bodies within the UK to support counter-terrorism measures such information, if occurred, would not be shared with the public.

To confirm or deny any such activity had occurred or not in our airports would be extremely useful to those involved in terrorist activity as it would enable them to map perceived vulnerable force areas.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 24(2) National Security

Factors favour complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and how resources are distributed within an area of policing.  To confirm if any further information is held would enable the general public to see that Northumbria Police recorded and investigated such instances appropriately.  In the current financial climate of cuts and with the call for transparency of public spending this would enable improved public debate.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming or denying that information is held

Security measures are put in place to protect the community we serve.  As evidenced within the harm to confirm if any other arrests had or had not taken place would highlight to terrorists and individuals intent on carrying out criminal activity perceived vulnerabilities within our force area.

Taking into account the current security climate within the United Kingdom, no information (such as the citing of an exemption which confirms information pertinent to this request is held, or conversely, stating ‘no information is held’) which may aid a terrorist should be disclosed.  To what extent this information may aid a terrorist is unknown, but it is clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to monitor terrorist activity.

Irrespective of what information is or isn’t held, the public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with regard to their safety and protection and the only way of reducing risk is to be cautious with what is placed into the public domain.

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various sources would be even more impactive when linked to other information gathered from various sources about terrorism.  The more information disclosed over time will give a more detailed account of the tactical infrastructure of not only a force area but also the country as a whole.

Any incident that results from such a disclosure would, by default, affect National Security.

Section 30(3) Investigations

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

Confirming or denying whether information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed general public by identifying that Northumbria Police robustly investigate any incidents at airports.  This fact alone may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist with investigations and would also promote public trust in providing transparency and demonstrating openness and accountability into where the police are currently focusing their investigations.

The public are also entitled to know how public funds are spent, particularly in the current economic climate.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a)

Modern-day policing is intelligence led and forces share information with other law enforcement agencies as part of their investigation process.  To confirm or not whether Northumbria Police has alerted other agencies of any crimes specifically within the confines of the airport could hinder the prevention and detection of crime as well as undermine the partnership approach to investigations and enforcement.

Should offenders take evasive action to avoid detection, police resources may well be diverted from frontline duties and other areas of policing in order to locate and apprehend these individuals.  In addition, the safety of individuals and victims would also be compromised.

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

Confirming that information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed public which may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to reduce any incidents.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) neither confirming nor denying that information is held

Confirmation or denial that information is held in this case would suggest that Northumbria Police take their responsibility to protect the public dismissively and inappropriately.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying the requested information exists.  The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protection the communities we serve.  As part of that policing purpose, information is gathered which can be highly sensitive relating to high profile investigative activity.

Weakening the mechanisms used to monitor any type of criminal activity, and specifically terrorist activity would place the security of the country at an increased level of danger. 

In addition anything that places the confidence of the public at risk, no matter how generic, would undermine any trust or confidence individuals have in the Police Service.  Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that any further information is held regarding crimes at this location.

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