Paedophile Hunting Groups - 1248/20

Date Responded 17 September 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:


  1. Please provide a copy of your guidance dealing with requests to anti-paedophile groups like COST to remove videos of suspected sex offenders that they catch.
  2. Please provide a copy of your guidance dealing with suspected sex-offenders reported to you who work in positions of trust like teachers and medical professionals.
  3. For the year 2019/20, please provide all recorded crime figures for your force relating to the online grooming of children. By 'grooming' I mean sexually motivated conduct done in pursuit of sexual gratification or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.
  4. From the 1 January 2020 to date, how many videos on Facebook relating to 'stings' by anti-paedophile groups have you sought to have removed by either (i) asking the group concerned to remove it it and/or (ii) contacting Facebook direct to have it removed.

In Response:

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

I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

To provide information which meets the criteria of your request, particularly at question 4  can only be ascertained by consulting with all officers, staff and departments for them to search their records to ascertain if they held anything from the 1 January 2020 to date, as to how many videos on Facebook relating to 'stings' by anti-paedophile groups had been removed by either of the methods you have referred to in this request. We have estimated that this exercise would far exceed the 18 hour threshold, 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.

As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request. However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be the remaining question as set out above.  

If this would be useful, you may wish to refine and resubmit your request accordingly.

back to top