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.
1. The number of individuals who have been held in police custody whose address is recorded as no fixed abode or no address, or who have no address recorded, per calendar month for 2015 (ie. January 2015: 10, February 2015: 15, etc);
2. The number of individuals who have been held in police custody whose address is recorded as no fixed abode or no address, or who have no address recorded, per calendar month for 2016 (ie. January 2016: 10, February 2016: 15, etc);
3. The number of individuals who have been held in police custody whose address is recorded as no fixed abode or no address, or who have no address recorded, per calendar month for 2017 (ie. January 2017: 10, February 2017: 15, etc); and
4. The number of days between 1 January 2017 to date that new admissions to police custody have been halted.
We then asked for clarity with question 4 and you said ‘I'm aware that for various reasons (a lack of staff, cells being full etc) that custody may be closed to new admissions and any arrested prisoners diverted to another custody suite. It's this which I'm requesting in Q4.’
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 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.
This information is not held in a format that allows its retrieval within the time constraints of the Act, particularly at questions 1, 2 and 3. While we record the addresses for each arrestee, we do not have the facility to search that field. An initial search between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017, brought back a total of 31,148 arrests. Each of those arrests would require manual review to check the address. Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract the information would take over 1038 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.
As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of 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 question 4. However, the only figure we could give is the number of detentions refused. While this would count those individuals arrested but turned away at custody for being too ill etc., it would not capture those diverted to an alternative custody suite.
If the above would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.