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 disclose the number, if any, of referrals made to your body by pharmacists or pharmacy professionals in relation to suspected sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult from 1 November 2017 to 1 November 2018.
You then clarified:
I am looking for the number of occasions in the indicated time period where a pharmacist, or a pharmacy professional has been the person reporting the indicated crimes. I am looking for the number of instances in which the police were contacted. If you only hold information about the number of those occasions that went on to charge / arrest, I would appreciate that information instead.
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 occupation of any informant is not recorded in a searchable format. It is not normally required, however if relevant, it may be recorded as part of the incident text, however to identify these each incident which has resulted in the recording of sexual offence would need to be reviewed. There were over 1000 incidents during the time period which have resulted in a sexual offence against a vulnerable person or a person under 18, therefore each of those incidents would require manual review to establish if any information relevant to your request is held. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, this exercise cannot be achieved with the permitted 18 hour time constraint.