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Numbers Caught By Paedophile Hunters - 301/20

Date Responded 27 February 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 number of People been caught by paedophile hunters in your area.  Please can we have the figures from 2018-2019.

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

The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour time threshold.  During the period requested there were a total of 1,393 sexual offences and each of those would require a manual review to establish which, if any, involved ‘Paedophile Hunters.’  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information for hat time period alone would take over 69 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.  A suggestion of the information that we may be able to provide from the researching department is that you could refine your request to a specific crime eg ”child grooming”, reduce your search period or identify/name one specific group to search for.  However, it should be noted it would not be known what, if any information is held, until searches are carried out.

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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