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Cannabis Farms - 445/20

Date Responded 19 March 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. Please could you let me know how many cannabis farms have been raided by the force over the last five years? Could the information be broken down by year please?
  2. Please could you let me know the total estimated value of cannabis seized each year?
  3. Could you please provide some information about the forces largest seize? For example; our largest seize was in 2016 where we seized an estimated £XXXXXX of cannabis.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held centrally nor is it held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.

The only way to provide a response to this request would be to conduct searches for Home Office codes relating to cannabis production, then check each recorded  case to establish if a ‘raid’ had taken place.  Further searches would be required on different recording systems to establish any total values recorded.  Initial searches made between the dates of 01/04/2017 and 31/12/2019 brought back in excess of 830 crimes.  Even at a conservative estimate of 4 minutes per record, which we have considered as a reasonable minimum , we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile the information at point 1 alone, for that shorter time period would take over 55 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.  Further time would then be required to complete the remainder of this request.

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for 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.

I can advise, with regards to point 3 that Northumbria Police proactively publish latest news reports on the Northumbria Police website – and these will include  cannabis seizures.  You may wish to review those pages for information that is already freely available at this point.

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