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Coronavirus & Lockdown - 818/20

Date Responded 12 June 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:

1. The (i) number of times police have used Stop and Search measures since the UK lockdown was introduced on 23rd March 2020 and (ii) the number of times police had used Stop and Search measures from 23rd March 2019 to 22nd March 2020.

2. Out of the total number of times Stop and Search measures have been used by police since the UK lockdown was introduced on 23rd March 2020, the number that were used on black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals.

3. Out of the total number of times Stop and Search measures have been used by police between 23rd March 2019 and 22nd March 2020, the number of Stop and Search measures used by police on black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals.

4. Following the passage of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the number of times police have used new powers to detain individuals to be tested if they are believed to be infectious.

5. Following the passage of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the number of times police have used new powers to restrict individuals' right to move around or be part of a gathering.

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

As advised in our acknowledgement email theses requests have been aggregated with regards to time constraints under the Act, as they refer to the same subject area

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.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

Please note that with regards to stop and search data provided below, this does not include incidences where the suspect was stopped but not searched.

  1. i)    1,072

ii)   With regards to statistics from March 2019 to March 2020 - you may be aware that a publication strategy is in place with regards to requests received by Northumbria Police where the information required in the requests relates to Corona - Coronavirus - Covid 19 and Virus etc.  To aid and assist you, I have copied a link below to the relevant page of our website below:

https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/our-services/make-an-information-request/freedom-of-information-request/

The information you have requested will therefore not be disclosed at this current time and by withholding we will rely on the following exemption:-

Section 22 Information Intended for Future Publication

      (1) Information is exempt information if -

      (a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not)

      (b) The information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and  
(c) It is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a)

Section 22 is a class based qualified exemption which requires us to apply a Public Interest Test to decide if the information you require should be released ahead of the publication strategy.

Public Interest Test

Factors favouring disclosure:-

To release the information that is held at this particular time would provide the public with an awareness of the most recently collected data serving to enhance public knowledge of the subject, by providing current information that may better inform public debate on the decisions taken by Northumbria Police.

Factors favouring non-disclosure:-

As you will be aware from information already in the public domain, this is an unprecedented situation which we all find ourselves in.  However, Northumbria Police accept that this is a subject of great public interest and accordingly, a decision has been made to consider publishing this information following the conclusion of the pandemic.

Balancing Test

To clarify, the pandemic is ongoing and collated information held at this time will not include all details in relation to the situation as a whole.  Accordingly, any information provided would not be accurate and that which is held is likely to change as a result of further conclusions made prior to publication.

For a disclosure of this nature to be appropriate, a valid reason or reasons which identify a tangible benefit to the public from disclosure of information needs to identified.  In this case a decision has been made to fully consider the disclosure of the information at a future date and the information is verified as accurate.  Section 22 allows for circumstances when it is reasonable and correct for public authorities to delay the provision of information until it is made generally available through publication.  The additional resources expended by the force to deal with your request at this time would not be in the public interest.

For the reasons outlined above the balancing test for disclosure at this time is not made out.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this represents a Refusal Notice for this part of your request.

2.

Ethnicity

Count

Asian

89

Black

26

Total

115

 

3. As per our response to 1. ii) above.

4. None Data correct to 31 May 2020.

5. 16 - This relates solely to arrests and does not include any directions from officers or the fixed penalty unit.  Data correct to 31 May 2020.

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