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.For time periods 2017; 2018 and 2019 (to date) how many burglaries were reported in your area where a key was used to gain access (unforced illegal entry) to a residential dwelling? (If possible, we would like the information split by full calendar year, or by month)
Where possible, please can you identify the numbers of burglaries (by year) where the keys were:
- Stolen at an earlier date
- Stolen from a location outside the property where they had been hidden by the occupant and used to gain access
- Suspected to be a copy from a person who was previously given a set for access – cleaner; workmen etc
- Believed to belong to a former resident/ associate of former resident of the property
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:
A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.
I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) 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.
I have set out the reasons for this below.
The only method of establishing a response to this request would be a manual review all burglaries reported in the three year period requested.
This would require 16,580 cases to be reviewed to establish if a key was used to gain entry. This has been assessed as being in excess of 1381 hours for point 1 alone. Further time would then be needed to establish a response to the remaining questions and then to present by year/month. Section 12 is therefore appropriate.
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.