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 undertaking some research and wonder if U could kindly provide UR Force 'Police use of force statistics' for 2020 or 2019 pls?”
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 will not be disclosed for the following reasons.
Please note that this information is held in financial year format not calendar year. As the information you have requested to March 2019 is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for that part your request.
I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.
Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means
Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.
This information is freely available from the Gov.uk website and is published in financial year format. In order to aid and assist you I have provided the relevant link below from this you will be able to extract the data you require to March 2019.
The information you have requested for 1 April 2019 onwards will 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 the scheduled publication.
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:-
The exemption engaged in this case specifically requires us to simply look at the public interest in delaying the release of information that will automatically be disclosed in the future. To repeat those activities in response to Freedom of Information requests would not be an efficient use of resources and finance, specifically in the current climate we all find ourselves in.
To clarify, 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, as the public interest is met by the scheduled publication of this data, as outlined above, therefore we see no benefit to the early disclosure of these figures.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 you should consider this to be a refusal notice under section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.