Date Responded 12 October 2021

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. The number of reported van thefts from August 2016 – July 2021, with the data broken down year by year.
  2. The number of thefts broken down into the form of entry, e.g. keyless theft.


After we sought clarity you advised the above was your submission

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within 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 already held statistically, nor is it held in a format that would allow its extraction from systems within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  Firstly, we cannot identify thefts relating to a ‘van’ rather than another motor vehicle; our system does not store vehicles or property items in this way (typically, it'll be "motor vehicle" and the make, we rarely have the model stored.) Additionally , we would not be able to identify the means of ingress without a manual examination of all identified crimes.

The only way to identify relevant cases would be a manual search through all identified records. Whilst the FOI is not clear as to whether it relates to theft of – or  theft from -  this would make no material difference; there are 7738 instances of theft of a motor vehicle and 24333 instances of theft from a motor vehicle.  Even assuming ‘theft of ‘ this would require 7738 reports being manually reviewed .  Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract that  information alone  would take over 644 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.

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