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.
I would like to know the number of occasions on which the force has passed information on individuals it has arrested/interviewed to the Home Office following concerns over the immigration status of criminals from January 2017 to date.
If possible I would like the information to be broken down on a month by month basis.
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.
The information requested, if held, is not held centrally nor is it held in a format that would allow its extraction within the permitted 18 hours. To search for individuals who were arrested/interviewed and who were subsequently reported to the Home Office for immigration purposes would entail hundreds of individuals details being manually reviewed. This cannot be established within the time parameters of the Act. Similarly we do not keep a database of referrals made to the Home Office so extensive research would be required to identify any referrals made to them in that time period and then to establish whether any of those individuals were arrested/interviewed prior to them being referred. This also cannot be achieved within the time constraints.
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.
Additionally had Section 12 not been fully applicable other exemptions would have been considered and applied if relevant.