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Date Responded 14 August 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:

I would like to know the number of reported thefts of parcels (post) to your force over the last three financial years.

Please break the numbers down by year FY 18-19, FY 17-18, FY 16-17

In Response:

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.

There are over 23,000 offences of ‘theft other’ recorded between 01/04/2017 and 31/07/2019.  (This does not include burglary dwelling offences, which, if included, would considerably increase those figures).  Each of those offences would need to be reviewed to see if the item stolen was a parcel.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, review and extract this information would take over 1150 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable .

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 figures outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.

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