Problem Profiles - 763/21

Date Responded 24 August 2021

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:

A copy of any intelligence reports or problem profiles on the issue of child criminal exploitation, including but not limited to county lines drug dealing, produced between January 1, 2010, and the present day.

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 within Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.


The attached documents have been located and identified as relevant to this submission.  I can advise that we can find no other such documents.  It has been necessary to apply the exemptions below to some of the information held within the documents.

Section 40(2) - Personal Information

Section 40 is an absolute, class-based exemption there is no requirement for us to evidence the harm in disclosure or apply a public interest test.  Any information which relates to third parties, if disclosed, would breach the data protection principles of the Data Protection Act.

Section 31(1)(a) - Law Enforcement

As Section 31 is a prejudice-based, qualified exemption there is the requirement for us to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not whether information is held as well as considering the public interest test.


In order to prevent and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety, the public expect Northumbria Police along with all other forces and other law enforcement agencies to use all powers and tactics available.  Police forces and intelligence agencies are reliant upon the flow of information and the release of operationally sensitive information would have a substantial prejudicial impact on the ability to carry out and apply law enforcement.  This would cause subsequent harm to the Police service’s ability to protect the public it serves and could prejudice its ability to perform core functions such as the prevention and detection of crime.  By disclosing such information to the public would impact on the ability of Northumbria Police to prevent and detect certain offences, which would in turn lead to members of the public being at an increased risk of harm. 

Public Interest Test

Factors Favouring Disclosure

Disclosure of this information would allow the public to better informed and understand the resources available to Northumbria Police as it seeks to continue the prevention and detection of such crime.  It would also serve to reassurance the public that adequate resources are in place to protect the Community form such offenders and offences. 

Factors Against Disclosure

Disclosing such information would greatly compromise law enforcement tactics by identifying areas where investigations are being concentrated and therefore identifying to those where such information would be useful what investigations and efforts to enforce are or are not being concentrated, thereby greatly influencing the valuable purpose of this resource and encourage the unlawful practices of criminals.  Any increase in crime committed would have an impact on other police resources, thereby hindering the prevention and detection of crime. 

Balance Test

The Police is tasked with protecting the community we serve and solving crime and there is a public interest argument in ensuring we are open and transparent with regard to policing investigations and operations.  There is no doubt that for the issues outlined above, any disclosure of such information would jeopardise those important roles and place individuals at serious risk of harm.  Therefore it is our opinion that the balance of the public interest favours withholding the information. 

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for parts of your request.

Northumbria Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information with regard to an exempt body as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:

Section 23(5) Information Supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies

Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case. 

Additionally as some of the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

A further document has been released previously and is published on the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log, FOI 1364/20 refers and the link to the Log is provided below.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.  However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes.  The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.  As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

763-21 - County Lines Briefing Note

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