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Temporary encampments - 613/19

Date Responded 24 May 2019

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:

  1. Please detail how many section 35 orders have been issued by your force on temporary encampments believed to be occupied by the homeless in the last 3 years.
  2. Please give details of each case and break down by date, how many tents/structures were confiscated, arrests and charges if possible.

In Response:

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

This information is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted time constraints.  There were in excess of 5,000 section 35 orders made within the date range specified.  To establish if ay related to the specifics of this request would require each to be manually reviewed to confirm the status of the individual, ie whether homeless, and to review all orders given on the same day to see if they were related to an ‘encampment’.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information alone would take over 250 hours. Further time would then be required to research all aspects of point 2. Section 12 is therefore fully applicable.

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