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.
I would like to make a Freedom of Information Request, regarding reported tool thefts from tradespeople.
Specifically, I would like to ask if you could provide the number of reported tool thefts in your region and, if possible, how many of these were a result of a vehicle (e.g. van or commercial vehicle) break-in. I would like information for 2016 - present if possible.
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 would allow its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. So far this year alone there have been in excess of 4,000 theft from vehicles reported. Each of those reports would need to be manually reviewed to establish if the vehicle was commercial and what property had been recorded as being stolen. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 200 hours for that time period alone, 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. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.