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 am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would like to receive information regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE) investigations since 2003, specifically:
1. Could you provide a list of police ‘Operations’ with their codenames i.e. ‘Operation Sanctuary’ carried out by the force since 2003 to today’s date. Please indicate the dates between which the operation ran.
2. Please provide a summary of the outcome of the operation including the number of arrests as a result of the operation.
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 Safeguarding 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 is not held in a format that allows its retrieval within the permitted time constraints of the Act. We do not have one central recording for all of the operations which have been conducted Force wide since 2003. To establish which operations had been conducted would involve contacting each of our Area Commands, CID and Safeguarding for any known operations and then it would involve a manual trawl of each of those to see how many were arrested as a result of this.
We have estimated that to extract this information would take well over the permitted time constraints of 18 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 that part of 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. Additionally had Section 12 not been fully applicable, other exemptions would have been considered and applied where appropriate.
I can advise that there is a lot of information in the public domain that has been released by Northumbria Police with regards to Operation Sanctuary.
A simple search of the Northumbria Police website for ‘Operation Sanctuary’ will bring back information that may be useful to you.