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.
1. How many cars did you have reported as stolen in your police force area over in following months in 2019, 2020 and 2021
2. Please state the total reported value of cars stolen over those years.
3. Over the same timeframe, how many reports of the theft of the following items from cars has your force received?
Tyres and/or wheels
4. Please state the total reported value of those different parts stolen
After we sought clarification you provided us with the following:
I can confirm its just for cars.
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 following five offences were searched for:
- Aggravated Taking where the only aggravating factor is Criminal Damage of £5,000 or under
- Aggravated vehicle taking
- Custody Code - Unauthorised taking or driving of a motor vehicle (custody code)
- Taking a motor vehicle (local sub-code for TWOC)
- Theft of motor vehicle
The resulting offences were then searched to get the details of the vehicles and items stolen. There were 4,132 vehicles matching the offences above, of those vehicles, 1,108 were classed as 'other' (as opposed to saloon, estate, digger, motorcycle etc). All of those records would have to be reviewed to establish if the vehicle was a car as specified by your request. In addition to this, for the offence of 'Theft from a motor vehicle' the vehicle type is not recorded. There were 23,336 items stolen from motor vehicles and again we would have to review each of the offences of which there are 10,752. Further to this, we cannot answer question 4 as the categories for items stolen are not specific enough, for example battery would include batteries from power tools which are likely to make up the majority of battery items, again this would need to be reviewed and would exceed the time limits.
Therefore in order for us to provide information which meets the specific criteria of your request, would entail a member of staff manually searching a total of 14,884 records, this includes the 4,132 vehicles to establish if the vehicle was a car and the 10,752 offences of theft from a motor vehicle, to establish which offences relate to the items in your request. Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 1,240 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.
However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I can advise that an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions 1-3 with the removal of cars specifically, and if question 4 was removed.
If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.