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Date Responded 19 February 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. In the years 2017, 2018, 2019 the number of arrests made by your force based on mistaken identity, listed per year.
  2. The amount of compensation paid in the years 2017, 2018, 2019 to people who had been arrested based on mistaken identity.
  3. A brief description of each incident (the reason for arrest and outcome of the case)

If (3) will take too many man-hours to fulfil, please alter my request to respond to just (1) and (2).

In Response:

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

Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidelines state that:

A public authority must confirm or deny whether it holds the information requested unless the cost of this alone would exceed the appropriate limit.

I can neither confirm nor deny that the information you require is held by Northumbria Police as to actually determine if it is held would exceed the permitted 18 hours therefore Section 12(2) 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.

I have set out the reasons for this below.

The information at point 1 is not held in a format that allows us to verify if it is held or not within the permitted 18 hours.  There is no easy way to identify if any arrests had been made in the 3 years specified based on mistaken identity. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to point 2 of your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded.  I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.

  1. Nil
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