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.
Please tell me if the force has ever seized any cryptocurrency. If possible, also tell me the date, size and type of each seizure.
I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however will not be disclosed and we rely on the following exemption:
Section 31 (1) - Law Enforcement
As Section 31 is a prejudice-based, qualified exemption there is the requirement for us to articulate the harm that would be caused in disclosure well as considering the public interest test.
To release information regarding ongoing investigations could potentially undermine proceedings to determine whether the appellant was guilty or not. It is important that public authorities have the space to fully investigate and consider any matters in respect of improper conduct without fear of any speculation entering the public domain which may adversely influence lawful proceedings.
Factors favouring disclosure - Disclosure would provide a full representation of the facts or issue in question, thus maintaining public confidence in the force’s ability to deal with such investigations appropriately and responsibly. Disclosure would also promote greater openness and transparency.
Factors favouring Non-disclosure - To disclose this information could prejudice any proceedings which may arise. It is important that public authorities have the space to fully investigate and consider all aspects of alleged misconduct and that all investigations are conducted in a fair manner to ascertain whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper.
In conclusion I consider that the factors favouring non-disclosure outweigh the factors favouring disclosure and as such I will not be disclosing information relating to any ongoing investigations. Although it is important that the public are apprised of the nature of such matters and may observe the steps taken by Northumbria Police in respect of dealing with misconduct allegations (including any disciplinary action taken), I consider that when weighed against the risk of prejudicing the outcome, the factors favouring non-disclosure take precedence. Whilst we attempt to put a much information into the public domain as possible we will not do so if it would have an adverse impact on any investigations.