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Date Responded 06 April 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. From December 2019 to the most recent date, how many times have police been called to supermarkets to assist and deal with matters related to coronavirus, e.g. panic buying, long queues, etc. Could I please have the dates and location.
  2. In relation to Q1, how many arrests have been made or cautions given at the supermarkets and the reasons for them, e.g. anti-social behaviour. Could I please have dates and location.
  3. In relation to Q1, the costs associated with officer attendance.

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.

Initial searches for the time period requested have brought back almost 3,000 recorded incidents at supermarkets.  (These would include shoplifting, theft from vehicle etc.)  These would all require manual review to establish which, if any were recorded as ‘corona virus related’.  This cannot be achieved within the 18 hour threshold.  Section 12(2) is therefore relevant.

I can advise, at point 3, no information is held.  Such costs are not calculated.

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