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Abduction Investigations - 403/20

Date Responded 18 March 2020

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:

As far back as the records you have go, I request the following:

  1. What is your longest running abduction investigation?
  2. When did the investigation start (as accurately as you can provide the date and year)?
  3. Is it still open or a solved case?
  4. What is your longest running child abduction investigation (please specify at what age you consider someone to be a child – under 18/21 etc…).
  5. When did the investigation start (as accurately as you can provide the date and year)?
  6. Is it still open or a closed case?

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Crime 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.

As this information is not held in an easily searchable format in order to establish a response in relation to child abduction investigation’s only would require approximately 600 currently recorded relevant crimes to be located and manually reviewed to establish; when the investigation started, if it is still open or solved and how long the investigation ran or if still running.  It may also involve contacting the OIC/SIO of each case and the accessing archived files etc.  Even at a conservative minimum estimate of 30 minutes per record, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 300 hours.  The same process would then need to be repeated for abduction investigations, 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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