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Shanaz Network - 1236/19

Date Responded 23 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 obtain documents and emails pertaining to the Shanaz Network.

A report ( indicated that Shanaz operated in the across the UK, and that a national guidance document on Shanaz was created and distributed to all police forces.  This was a 'best practice' document.  A previous request ( indicated that persons working on Shanaz used their own force's computers and systems, and not a centralised one.

Please send me a copy of this document, and any documents related to the Shanaz network held on your computers.

The article also indicated that regular reports were sent regarding Shanaz.

Please send me a copy of any reports sent or received regarding the Shanaz network.

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.

There is no method which enables us to conduct searches within the force to establish if the document or reports to which your refer are held which would not exceed the 18 hour time constraints.  Such documents, if held, could be held in any format, ie paper or electronic format, and could be held in numerous locations and would require extensive manual searches.  This would far exceed that time constraint and therefore Section 12 is appropriate. 


When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits.  However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.

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