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.
Over the last three and a half years (2017 - to the end of May 2020) - broken down by month?
1. How many crimes of theft from a vehicle, classed as ‘van’ or ‘light commercial vehicle’, where ‘tools’, ‘tool’, ‘tools power’ or ‘tools sundry’ were recorded as stolen
2. How many of these cases resulted in a police charge?
3. How many of these cases resulted in tools being ‘recovered’ or ‘returned to owner’?
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 however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.
The information is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. Initial searches have brought back in excess of 2,300 cases of theft from vehicle offences where tools had been stolen. Each of those cases would require manual review to establish which, if any, were recorded as being from ‘van’ or ‘light commercial vehicle’ as there is no search method that would allow this information to be easily extracted. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information would take over 115 hours, therefore Section 12(1) 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.
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, as points 2 & 3 rely on information at point 1 being extracted, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.