Digital devices - 049/19

Date Responded 07 February 2019

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) For each of the last four years (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) please could you tell me the total number of digital devices that were forensically examined by your police force.


2) Please provide as much of the following information that you hold or are able to gather, for each of the four years:

A breakdown of examined devices by the ‘type’ of device. Eg 500 mobile phones, 200 iPads, etc.

A breakdown of who the examined devices belonged to – in particular, the number that belonged to (a) suspects, (b) complainants or (c) witnesses.

The average time that the examined devices were held for before being returned to their owners. If the data is available, please break this down for (a) suspects, (b) complainants and (c) witnesses.



In Response:

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

To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at questions 2 would entail a member of staff manually searching every case file within the time period requested. Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 310 hours for 2018 alone, 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.

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information below, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.


1. Prior to 1st September 2017 no accurate records were kept. Paper based case files would need to be reviewed to gather figures prior to 2018, which would again attract a Section 12 exemption.

Total Number of devices examined in 2018 = 6219



Backup Media = 400 Devices

Base Units = 161 Devices

CD’s = 418 Items

Desktop PC’s = 83 Devices

Digital Cameras = 13 Devices

Digital Video Cameras = 12 Devices

USB Dongles = 9 Devices

DVD’s = 808 Devices

Digital Video Recorder’s = 44 Devices

Floppy Disks = 3 Devices

Games Consoles = 35 Devices

Hard Disk Drives = 1083 Devices

Laptop PC’s = 411 Devices

Media Players = 15 Devices

Memory Cards = 268 Devices

Miscellaneous Items = 74 Devices

VHS Video Tape = 1 Device

Mobile Phones = 1316 Devices

Personal Digital Assistant = 5 Devices

Routers = 11 Devices

Sat Nav’s = 6 Devices

Servers = 2 Devices

SIM Cards = 561 Devices

Tablet Computers = 190 Devices

USB Drives = 290 Devices


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