Supernatural Calls - 1206/19

Date Responded 31 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 looking for a record of calls made to this police force in the last 5 years.

I would like the amount of calls made that are directly in relation to nightmares, ghosts, poltergeists, aliens, supernatural beings, monsters, bad dreams, vampires, or spirits.

Could I have info on any call in relation to the above topics, the area the call was made, when it was made.

After we sought clarity on several occasions you confirmed the below.

Search period – September 2014 – September 2019

Area – down to sector level

‘In relation to’ – we are taking it that this refers to the number of calls mentioning the keywords ‘nightmares, ghosts, poltergeists, aliens, supernatural beings, monsters, bad dreams, vampires, or spirits’.

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 in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not held in a format that allows its extraction within the permitted 18 hour time threshold.  Initial searches on the keywords provided brought back incidents not related to the specifics of this request, for instance the keyword ‘spirit’ brings back instances where alcoholic spirits are mentioned, ie instances of shoplifting of those items.  A manual review of all returns would then be required to establish if any of the incidents actually related to the theme of this request.  In excess of 1,770 returns were the result of the keyword searches.  Even at a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate, extract and compile this information would take over 88 hours, 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.

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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