Disclosure Details

Assaults - 325/12

Dated: 20 Apr 2012

Date of request:  28/03/2012

Date of response:   24/04/2012

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 28 March   2012 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

I would like to know of incidents where a female or male has called the police because they have their buttocks grabbed, slapped or pinched.
I would like the know the number of these incidents for 2009, 2010 and 2011, separately.
I would like to know how many of these cases were reported by males and how many of the victims were females. I would also like to know what the perpetrators were charged with. And also if they were added to the sex offenders register and for how long.
Can you also give me a list of a few places where these incidents took place e.g work place, nightclub.

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 with the Corporate Deveopment Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however can not be disclosed for the following reasons.

This information is not held in an easily retrievable format.  As there is no seperate recording code for such instances this type of incident  could be grouped within crime, assaults, sexual offences, suspicious incidents, anti-social behaviour, or could be buried within the content of any assortment of other incident reports etc.,  Searches of incidents were carried out using keywords  buttocks, grabbed, slapped and pinched or nipped.  Carrying out the searches in this manner brings back every type of incident containing these words.  For a one month period this returned in excess of  300 incident reports where one of these words was included.  Each report would then require a manual viewing to establish which if any were specific to your request.  Even at a conservative estimate of 5 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable,  we have estimated that to locate retrieve and extract this information for a one year period alone would take over 300 hours, therefore Section 12 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 that part of 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.

Please note that post legislative scrutiny of section of the Freedom of Information Act, suggests that it may be appropriate to extend section 14(1) to discharge public authorities from their obligation to comply with frivolous requests as well as vexatious requests. The aim of this would be to reduce the burden of compliance with obviously trivial or light-hearted requests, without a serious purpose. I must advise that future requests on this subject may attract exemptions under this part of the Act. 

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-28029