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Reported Tool Thefts - 1209/19

Date Responded 06 November 2019

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:

For the years; 2017, 2018 and 2019 year to date:

  1. How many reported incidents of theft of tools (either hand tools, power tools or associated items) have you received          

2. How many of these thefts were reported from the following places during these timeframe

a. private residence , b.  vehicle , c. a worksite or commercial premises  , d. Other                     

3. How many of these reports of theft resulted in the tools being returned to the victim

4. What is the recorded (or estimated) overall value of tools stolen over the last three years?

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 would allow its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  In the time frame requested there have been in excess of 2600 offences of burglary business and community alone.  These would all need to be manually reviewed to establish if they were commercial premises.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information alone would take over 130 hours.  Likewise to establish if tools had been returned to owner would also entail each report being manually reviewed, an estimated further 130 hours.

Additionally there is no accurate way to provide the numbers of reported theft of tools as, though there is a general category for tools, tools could be recorded under other categories – ie plant/machinery, industrial items etc.  To establish a response to this would also exceed the permitted 18 hours.  As several aspects of this request would exceed 18 hours in their own right 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.

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