Items Confiscated From Schools - 737/12
Dated: 13 Nov 2012
Date of request: 20/09/2012
Date of response: 01/10/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 20 September 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.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, please could you release to me the following information please:
A list of items confiscated from schools in your Constabulary's area by police officers in:
a) 2012 so far;
b) 2011; and
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 Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police however will not be discloses for the following reasons.
Police Officers do not have the powers to 'confiscate' items. Items can be seized and this is done in line with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
Schools may have the power to confiscate items from schoolchildren as part of the terms of being a pupil at the school. Those items may then be voluntarily passed to the Police.
In order to verify the circumstances of each occasion items form schools came into the possession of the police would involve a manual review of both incident logs (if created) and the property system, as there is no central search available for 'confiscated' items. Where the full circumstances of any seizures are not noted, officers would have to be contacted to review pocket notebooks to attempt to gather the information requested.
Initial research has indicated that over 200 items have been seized from schools for whatever reason. This does not imply that those items were taken from pupils. To verify what had been seized, even at a conservative estimate of 20 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to locate and extract this information would take over 66 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. Therefore, in order to provide you with some assistance under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be for items seized from schools for a 6 month period only.
If this would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.
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.