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Date Responded 21 January 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 am seeking information concerning social media harassment, for each of the following periods:

(a) 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019

(b) 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018

(c) 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017

(d) 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016

(e) 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015

 

  1. How many cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) were reported to your police force;
  2. Of the cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) which were reported to your police force, how many lead to charges being brought
  3. Of the cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) which were reported to your police force, how many of the complainants were male
  4. Of the cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) which were reported to your police force, how many of the complainants were female
  5. Of the cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) which were reported to your police force, how many of the alleged perpetrators were male
  6. Of the cases of alleged social media harassment (specifically involving Facebook, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) which were reported to police force, how many of the alleged perpetrators were female
  7. On how many occasions did your police force issue harassment warning notices

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

To provide the attached data we have undertaken a keyword search within the MO field of harassment crimes for any of the following words; Facebook (which included Facebook Messenger), WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  Incident tables as far back as 16/17 have also been searched for Stalking and Harassment.  Prior to this, there are no incident codes for this type of offence and as such we cannot search for it prior to that date – the data may be held in a crime log but not in a format that we can gather.  Noting this, our response has been divided into Crimes and Incidents - this should account for any gaps in the data.

It should also be noted that the only way we can search for perpetrator information is via the Arrests table, meaning that if there has been no arrest made in a given instance there is no data available.

Regarding the data provide for Q7 - It is important to note that these notices were, whilst not completely discontinued, strongly recommended to be not used in July 2017.  Not all warning notices would be logged as such, many were put onto incident logs/case notes for a file, which would attract a Section 12 exemption under the Act as this would entail and manual search of all crimes and incidents.

If you decide to write an article/use the attached data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

Bearing all of the above in mind please see the attached spreadsheet which should satisfy your request.

 

Social Media - 044/20

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