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Premises Suspected of Brothel-Keeping - 1040/19

Date Responded 23 August 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:

  1. How many welfare checks were carried out on premises suspected of brothel-keeping in each of the last three calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018? Please break down figures by year.
  2. What was the total number of police officers deployed on such welfare checks in the last three calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018? Please break down figures by year.
  3. How many immigration officials were present on such welfare checks in the last three calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018? Please break down figures by year.
  4. How many arrests were made during such welfare checks in the last three calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018? Please break down figures by year and gender.
  5. How many of these arrests resulted in people being charged, and if so, what was the offence they were charged with? Please break down figures by year and specify if any were immigration offences.
  6. How many of these arrests subsequently led to cautions? Please break down figures by year.
  7. How many of these offences subsequently resulted in people being given a fine? Please break down figures by year and the total amount of fines levied.
  8. Please disclose the total value of cash forfeitures and confiscations from welfare checks carried out on premises suspected of brothel-keeping in the last three calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018? Please break down figures 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 your requesting, if held, is not held centrally nor is it held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hours. We do not have any method of extracting addresses of ‘premises suspected of brothel-keeping’ and therefore without that information the remainder of the request is not achievable.  Section 12(2) is therefore relevant .

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

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