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Sexual Misconduct Cases - 651/20

Date Responded 13 May 2020

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:

I would like to request the number of sexual misconduct cases involving university students and staff since 2017, including the outcomes of cases. I mean cases where either the complainant or respondent in a case is either a university student or university staff (not necessarily both).This can be listed in the following way to avoid sharing personal data: X number of cases were dismissed, X number led to convictions, etc.

Relevant HO codes are .

1713, Sexual Crime, Assault On Male By Penetration

1715, Sexual Crime, Assault On Male Not By Penetration

1908, Sexual Crime, Rape Of A Female Aged 16 Or Over

1910, Sexual Crime, Rape Of A Male Aged 16 Or Over

1912, Sexual Crime, Attempted Rape Of A Female Aged 16 Or Over

1914, Sexual Crime, Attempted Rape of A Male Aged 16 Or Over,

2003, Sexual Crime, Assault on A Female By Penetration

2005, Sexual Crime, Sexual Assault On A Female

8806, Sexual Crime, Commit Offence With Intent To Facilitate A Sexual Offence

8807, Sexual Crime, Trespass With Intent To Commit A Sexual Offence

8809, Sexual Crime, Exposure

865, Violence Against The Person, Stalking Involving Fear of Violence

866, Violence Against The Person, Stalking Involving Causing Serious Distress Or Alarm To The Victim

12512, Violence Against The Person, "Harassment, Alarm Or Distress".

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

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 is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  Whilst an ‘occupation’ field may be recorded the employer is not recorded in a searchable field- ie ‘university’.  Searches of the Home Office codes provided have brought back 24,181 returns.  Each of these would need to be manually reviewed to establish if any met the criteria of this request.  This cannot be achieved within 18 hours and therefore Section 12 (2) is applicable.  (An estimate of hours this request would take would be in excess of 1200 hours.)

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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