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.
I would like to make a request for the number of reported incidents of tool theft reported in your constabulary over the last three years (2017, 2018 & 2019 year to date).
1. How many reported incidents of theft of tools have you received from tradespeople over the last three years?
2. How many of these thefts were reported from the following places during these timeframes?
- A worksite or commercial premises
- A vehicle
- A private residence
3. How many of these reports of theft resulted in the tools being returned to the victim? Number of tools returned to victims?
4. What is the recorded (or estimated) overall value of tools stolen over the last three years?
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, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.
The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold. All crimes where tools have been stolen for the time period requested would require a manual review to establish a response to all your queries. Initial searches have brought back in excess of 6,000 crimes that would need reviewed. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 300 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, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.