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Date Responded 17 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:

For the 12-month period September 2018 to August 2019 please provide:

  1. number and proportion of requests for pre-charge detention in police custody that were refused
  2. total number of adults held in detention
  3. average length of detention
  4. number of adults detained in police custody on court warrant
  5. number and proportion of people detained in police custody under PACE that had a legal advisor present during interview and/or rights
  6. For those who were charged and had a legal advisor present, how many were bailed? How many were remanded to court?
  7. For those who were charged and did not have a legal advisor present, how many were bailed? How many were remanded to court?

In Response:

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, in part, by Northumbria Police however will not be disclosed for the following reasons.

Please note that as per our response to 1240/19 (which asked for substantially similar information) we are taking it that by ‘proportion’ at points 1 and 5 you are requesting percentage figures, and at point 3 you ask for the “average length of detention” – again we do not hold percentage figures nor do we hold averages and are not obliged to calculate either of them in order to provide a response to a FOI request.  Also within that response we suggested what information may be provided within the time constraints - questions 1 & 2, however as well as resubmitting those questions you also resubmitted additional questions (3-7 above).  

The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  At point 4 we are unable to provide this information without a list of types of warrants to search as each will have a separate Home Office code.  To provide a response at point 5 alone would entail a manual search of 29,547 custody records to ascertain if they had a legal advisor present during interview for the period requested.  We have estimated that this would take in excess of 1,477 hours (estimated at 3 minutes per record).  Also for points 6-7 - there were in excess of 7,000 arrests where the offender was 18 years or over resulting in a charge and each of those would require a manual review to establish a response specific to your request.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information alone would take over 350 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.

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

As parts of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of 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.  Therefore, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be questions 1 and 2 only as set out above.

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit those questions accordingly.

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

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