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Devices Seized - 230/20

Date Responded 03 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  How many of the following types of devices you have seized in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 calendar years:

- Mobile phones

- Desktop computers

- Laptop computers

- Tablets

- External hard drives or storage devices

- Other digital devices

(or if you do not break down devices into these categories please specify your own)

2  How many of the following types of devices have been subject to data extraction or some other kind of digital forensic investigation in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 calendar years:

- Mobile phones

- Desktop computers

- Laptop computers

- Tablets

- External hard drives or storage devices

- Other digital devices

(or if you do not break down devices into these categories please specify your own)

3  The purpose of the data extraction or digital forensic investigation – ie. if it was related to a particular type of crime. Please specify this as a number: ie. how many investigations were for one type of crime and how many for another type.

4  Please confirm how much has been spent on specialist hardware and software to facilitate digital forensic investigation activities in each calendar year. Please break this expenditure down by supplier / product.

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 time constraints.  All sources of such records would need to be searched, ie Force systems, Holmes, Property etc to extract the information requested, and records cross referenced to ensure accuracy and avoid double counting.  With in excess of approximately 10,000 devices seized each year, this exercise cannot be achieved for a one year period, let alone the 4 year time period requested, within the permitted 18 hours.  As we have estimated that to extract this information would far exceed the 18 hour threshold 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.

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 that had Section 12 not been wholly applicable to this request other exemptions would have been applied where relevant to withhold.

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