This website ( is no longer live. For the Northumbria Police homepage, please visit






Missing Evidence - 875/23

Date Responded 14 June 2023

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:

Under the Freedom of Information Act please can you provide the following: 

The number of instances of evidence which have gone missing from police custody.

A breakdown of the type of evidence (eg. the number of each type: drugs, weapons etc.).

Please provide information relating to the past 10 years, separated by year.

In Response:

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

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 in your request is not already held statistically, nor is it held in a format that would allow its extraction from systems within the 18 hour threshold.  In the last 3 years time period alone, in excess of 270 items of POFP (Property Other than Found Property) have been written off as lost or missing.  To establish if any of those items were actual evidence in a crime or not would require each of those records to be manually reviewed and cross referenced against other recording systems.  Even at a conservative estimate of 10 minutes per record this would exceed the 18 hour limit for that time period alone.  Further time would then be needed to establish, if any were actual evidence,  what crime type the item was associated with, etc.

Section 12(2) is therefore relevant.

No inference can be taken from this refusal that information does or does not exist.

back to top