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.
Can you please provide me with a list of the ten highest value items reported stolen in the most recent calendar year (or, alternately, in the financial year 2016/17)?
The file should contain a column with the local area where the item was stolen, a column with the name of the item and a column with the value of the item.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 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.
With the below in mind, I am able to disclose the located information to you as attached.
Crimes included are those which have been allocated to an officer between 01/01/2017 and 31/12/2017. Data has been ordered by value stolen and/or recovered. Values provided are estimates only.
To note, the list provided is the 10 highest value items reported stolen where the investigations have been completed/finalised. Any that are still under investigation have not been provided and in doing so we will rely on the following exemption.
S30(1a) Investigations and Proceedings conducted by Public Authorities
Sections 30 is a class based absolute exemption and consideration of the public interest must be given as to whether neither confirming nor denying the information exists is the appropriate response.
Factors favouring disclosure
There is a strong public interest in knowing how the police service investigates such matters. This would ensure the public that appropriate steps would be taken to ensure that the public is confident in the police service ability to achieve this. Furthermore, if it is felt that the police is not appropriately taking steps to protect the public, the disclosure of this information would enable an informed discussion on the matter.
Factors favouring non-disclosure
Whilst such information may be released in order to serve a core policing purpose, it will only be disclosed if there are strong public interest considerations favouring disclosure. Northumbria Police has a duty to ensure all investigations are dealt with fairly and equally. Any disclosure prior to investigations being completed would not be appropriate. Such release could prejudice and undermine any investigations and enquiries being conducted. Factors favouring disclosures would always be weaker while investigations are on-going.
The Police service is tasked with protecting the community and solving crime and carrying out appropriate investigations. They would not disclose information if it would jeopardise those important roles. By disclosing the requested information in this case would mean that investigations would be compromised, and the small benefit in increased public awareness would not be adequate compensation for such disruption. Although this information may be something which the public is entitled to be kept informed about, this does not outweigh the forces obligations to ensure investigations are proceeded with appropriately. Although it is important that the public are appraised of the progress of investigations, I consider that when weighed against the risk of prejudicing the outcome of any investigations, the factors favouring non-disclosure take precedence.
I have therefore concluded that the balance lies in favour of non-disclosure at this point.
FOI 169-18 - Ten highest value items stolen - Summary