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Date Responded 27 January 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:

1. The number of recorded offences where an online dating website or dating app was mentioned in a police report. Please provide the figures per year for the following years: 2019, 2018 and 2017

For example in 2019, the force recorded 44 crimes where a dating website or app was mentioned within the police report

2. The type of recorded offences where an online dating website or app was mentioned in a police report. Please provide the figures per year for the following years: 2019, 2018 and 2017

For example, in 2019 the force recorded 44 crimes where a dating website or app was mentioned within the police report, 22 crimes related to sexual assault, 22 related to robbery

3. Where possible in each instance, may you please outline the specific dating website or app mentioned

For example, in 2019 the force recorded 44 crimes where a dating website or app was mentioned within the police report, 22 crimes related to sexual assault. Of the 22 crimes relating to sexual assault - Tinder was named in 10 instances, Grindr in 5 instances, Match.com in 5 instances etc

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within  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 any format that allows its retrieval within the permitted  18 hours.  There are no flags for ‘dating website’ or ‘dating app’ that would allow such instances to be searched for and retrieved.  All offences for the years requested would need to be manually reviewed to establish if any mentioned ‘dating website’ or ‘dating app’ within the text.  This would entail tens of thousands of offences being searched.  This would obviously fall way outside the permitted 18 hours and as such 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.

However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions above in relation to specific websites, the names of which would need to be provided by you.  Only those websites/apps named by you  would be searched for.

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

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