Osman Warnings - 1089/19

Date Responded 02 October 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:

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act about Osman (threat to life) warnings issued to youths in your police force since 2008. For the avoidance of doubt, I am only interested in offenders aged 10 to 17 inclusive at the time the Osman warnings were given.

I would like to know for every financial year since 2008.

a) how many youths were given Osman warnings in total

b) how old they all were (eg one 10-year-old, 15 17-year-olds etc)

In Response:

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

You should note we are taking it that your submission refer to those receiving such notices as your submission firstly refers to ‘warnings issued’ but then you refer to the  ‘offender’ ages.

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 is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted time constraints.  This is particularly relevant for information prior to the data being recorded onto a searchable database set up in October 2017.  Data prior to this date would require a manual review of records which had the words ‘Osman’ within the body of the report.  This exercise would far exceed the permitted time constraints and therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act is applicable.

You should note that had Section 12 not been fully applicable other exemption would have been considered and applied to withhold.  The ages of anyone receiving a threat to life warning is not suitable for disclosure into the public domain.  Breaking down the ages of such sensitive information, if held, would provide potentially harmful information and could place an individual at risk.

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