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Suicide Act Crimes - 668/20

Date Responded 20 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 am writing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please can you inform me:

(i) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many women voluntarily disclosed to the police that they had unlawfully assisted or encouraged another person to end their life (in breach of the Suicide Act 1961)?

(ii) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many men voluntarily disclosed to the police that they had unlawfully assisted or encouraged another person to end their life (in breach of the Suicide Act 1961)?

(iii) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many men suspected of encouraging or assisting another to die (as per the Suicide Act 1961) were interviewed under caution?

(iv) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many women suspected of unlawfully encouraging or assisting another to die (as per the Suicide Act 1961) were interviewed under caution?

(v) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many women were charged for encouraging or assisting another to die (or in relation to the Suicide Act 1961)?

(vi) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many men were charged for encouraging or assisting another to die (or in relation to the Suicide Act 1961)?

(vii) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many women were arrested or detained for encouraging or assisting another to die (or in relation to the Suicide Act 1961)?

(viii) Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2019, how many men were arrested or detained for encouraging or assisting another to die (or in relation to the Suicide Act 1961)?

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, particularly at points i) – iv) is not already held statistically nor is it held, if held at all, in a format that allows us to locate and extract it within the permitted 18 hours. This information could not be extracted for a one year period, let alone 10 years as per your submission.  As there is no search method to allow us to search for and extract this detail, Section 12(2) is applicable.

As parts of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request. However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions v) to viii, as arrest/charged data is held in searchable formats.

If a response to these parts would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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