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Date Responded 03 January 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.How many Osman Notices/Threat to Life notices has it issued each year for the last three years -  for 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date.

2.Within that break down, can you tell me:

a.How many of those were issued within the Sunderland area?

b.How many were in South Tyneside

c.Can you say how many were to men, women, boys or girls?

 

In Response:

With regards to point 1 for 2016 & 2017 and point 2 for point c. the following exemption applies.

As the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

Data for those points has been asked previously released and is published via the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log. FOIs 379/18 and 95/18 refer.

With regards to the geographical area, we shall neither confirm nor deny any information is held with regards to those points and rely on the following exemptions to withhold.

Section 31 (3) Law Enforcement

Section 38(2) Health and Safety

Section 40(5) Personal Information

S40 (5) Personal Information;

To give a statement of the reasons why neither confirming nor denying is appropriate in this case would itself involve the disclosure of exempt information, therefore under s17(4), no explanation can be given. To the extent that section 40 (5)  applies, we have determined that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to neither confirm nor deny that any person subject to a threat to life notice live in the areas specified outweighs the public interest in confirming whether or not information is held.

Harm In Confirming Or Denying That The Information Is Held:

Any release under the Freedom of Information Act is a disclosure to the world, not just to the individual making the request. To confirm or not that any person subject to a threat to life resides in the areas specified, and accompanied with the information in the public domain (see Section 21 above) , could lead to identification or even misidentification of an individual and therefor put that individual at further risk.  The Police Service has a duty of care to all those living in the community and we would not further compromise anyone safety by disclosing information that could put them at further risk.

Section 31 (3) Law Enforcement

Factors Favouring Confirmation or Denial

Confirmation or denial would lead to a better awareness for the community in relation to this topic area enabling informed public debate to be undertaken. Furthermore, the public has a right to know that public funds are being resourced appropriately.

Factors against Confirmation or Denial

Modern-day policing is intelligence led and Northumbria Police share information with other law enforcement agencies as part of their intelligence gathering process. To confirm or not where those notified of risk to life  reside could hinder the prevention and detection of crime as well as undermining the partnership approach to investigations and law enforcement.  Such data needs to be kept secure and, whist we attempt to put as much information into the public domain as we can, we do not do so if this would jeopardise Law Enforcement or harm any individual or the wider public.

Section 38 Health and Safety

Factors Favouring Confirmation or Denial

Confirmation or denial would lead to a better awareness for the community in relation to this topic area enabling informed public debate to be undertaken. Furthermore, the public has a right to know that public funds are being resourced appropriately to monitor such instances.

Factors Against Confirmation or Denial

By confirming whether or not information is held would jeopardise the safety of an individual and the public would lose confidence in Northumbria Police’s ability to protect the wellbeing of the community.

Additionally, confirmation or denial of any information could lead to significant harm being caused to anyone subject to a threat to life notice, as this could increase the  likelihood of the identification of an individual, leading them to fear for their life and placing mental strain on their wellbeing

Balancing Test:

Irrespective of whether information is or is not held, public safety and the ability to deliver effective law enforcement is of paramount importance. Confirmation or denial (by citing an exemption or stating no information held) would undoubtedly compromise both law enforcement and the health and safety of an individual for the reasons already outlined above.. Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balancing test against confirming whether or not information is held is not made out.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have requested does or does not exist.

With regards to 2018 data we consider only full calendar year level as being suitable for disclosure as any shortfall data magnifies the rationale for our exemptions above.  You may wish to resubmit your request at point 1 for 2018 full year data once the year is complete.

 

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