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Ethnicity Recorded On Witness Statements - 1229/20

Date Responded 21 August 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:

I would like to submit a Freedom of Information request to obtain the following information about the personal details that are recorded by our officers when witnesses complete a witness form (MG11):

1) Please state the number of cases where contact details forms associated with witness statements have the self-defined ethnicity recorded as "NS not stated" and also include a police defined ethnicity code.

2) For the cases in 1), please list the number cases with a break down of the ethnic codes assigned by the police, e.g.

Year 20XX

Number;          Ethnicity (identity code)

11 ;                  IC1

22;                    IC2

33;                    IC3

44 ;                  IC4

and so on....

Please provide data from the last ten years.

In Response:

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

There is no facility to extract this information electronically, therefore to establish a response to your request for a one year period alone would require approximately 93,000 witness statements (MG11 forms) for victim related crimes, to be located and manually reviewed to extract the data specified by 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 would take over 4,650 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.  There are also witness statements for non-victim crime which would also need to be manually reviewed, timed by the 10 years’ worth of information requested would obviously add to the time estimated above.  Therefore Section 12 is applicable.

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.

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