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Missing Persons - 1097/19

Date Responded 02 October 2019

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:

For each year since 2013, including 2019 so far if possible, please provide details of:

  1. How many missing persons cases have been investigated in each year
  2. How many of those missing persons were under the age of 16 when they went missing (per year)?
  3. How many missing persons Investigations have been closed unsuccessfully over the last five years – ie Closed or unresolved without finding the person or body
  4. How many of these cases are still active as in there is still an active case and effort to find the missing person?
  5. How many of these resulted in the missing person being a victim of murder/homicide?
  6. What is the youngest missing person each year and detail whether they are active or closed.
  7. If closed, please detail the outcome - whether found or death etc.

After we sought clarity you then confirmed that points 3-7 related to point 1.

In Response:

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 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 held centrally not is it held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  For the three year period 2016 – 2019 alone initial searches have indicated that there were in excess of 22,000 missing person reports.  The majority of your request would require a manual review of each report to extract the information requested.  This cannot be achieved within the 18 hour time constraints and 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 1,833 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, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions 1, 2 and question 6 with the exclusion of the wording ‘active or closed’.  

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

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