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Mental health - 791/18

Date Responded 30 August 2018

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.Please can you tell me how many people have you detained under section 136 of the mental health act in each year over the past 10 years  – 2008-2017 .

Please give me the figures in calendar years, if possible.

2.In each case, how old was the person detained, for how many hours was the person detained, and where were they detained i.e. police station, at home?  

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 

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 by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons. The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour threshold.  Over the past ten years recording of detentions has changed.  A manual review of both methods would be required to establish a response to point 1 of this  request.  Additionally further review would be required to then offer a response to point 2.  Initial searches have indicated that in excess of 1500 records would require viewing to establish how old was the person detained, for how many hours was the person detained, and where were they detained.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3.5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 87 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. 

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill I have  provided the number of people detained and their age at the time, where known. Where you have asked for "where they were detained i.e. police station, at home" we have assumed you are referring to the place of safety the individual has been taken to rather than the place of arrest. Section 136 are only used in a public places and therefore "at home" would not be appropriate. I have provided the first place of safety an individual was taken to and the time spent at this place of safety. This has been worked out using the time of arrival at the place of safety and the time the officers left the place of safety (this is the only data available).

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.

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