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.
The number of individuals (if any) who have been arrested at any time during 2016, 2017 and 2018 for sex offences (including rape, sexual abuse, possession of indecent images of children etc) who had previously had their names removed from the Sex Offenders Register.
For each individual, please state:
- what offence(s) they had originally committed which led them to be placed on the Sex Offenders Register;
- what offence(s) they were arrested for after their name was removed from the Sex Offenders Register.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Please note that this request has been aggregated with your previous request (FOI 1029/19) with regards to time constraints under the Act, as they refer to the same subject area – Sex Offenders.
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 information requested, if held, cannot be established within the permitted 18 hour time constraint. To establish a response would require arrest details of all sexual offences for the period requested to be reviewed to check if any offender had been subject to, and subsequently removed from, the requirements of the sex offenders register at any time. For the three year period requested, in excess of 2,970 arrests have been made for sexual offences. To review those would exceed 200 hours - Section 12(2) 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.