Disclosure Details

Knives - 808/12

Dated: 30 Jul 2015

Date of request:   17/10/2012

Date of response:   29/10/2012

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

Thank you for your email dated 17 October 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 information regarding to the number of incidents involving large knives and machetes in the area covered by your force in the last 24 months, please. 

To make my query as clear as possible, I am requesting information specifically relating to:

  1. The number of times in the last 24 months where police have been called in relation to incidents involving knives or blades larger than 30 centimetres.

  2. The number of knives or blades that have been confiscated by police in the last 24 months. 

  3. The number of times in the last 24 months where police have been called in relation to incidents specifically involving machetes. 

  4. The number of machetes that are made by the manufacturer Gerber, which have been confiscated by police.

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 Communication and Corporate Development Departments 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.

The information requested is not held in an easily retrievable format.  To answer part one of this request would entail a member of staff doing text searches for a 24 month period for the word 'knife' or 'blade' and any other connotations which may be relevant.  These would then require further scrutiny to establish that requests were not being double counted as they contained the words knife and blade in them.  This search would also not disclose if the blade was larger than 30 centimetres.  This part in itself is deemed to exceed the prescribed limit of 18 hours.

You should note that police do not have the power to 'confiscate' items as per parts 3 and 4 of your request.  However even if this was redefined to 'seized' which is appropriate, it would require a search of our 'property other than found property' system, which currently contains almost 4,000 items for the last 24 month alone under the description of 'knives' and 'blades'.  Even at a conservative estimate of 1 minute per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to establish which of these were seized items 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.  However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the crime data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the Disclosure Log.  The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the public interest.  The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.  I have provided the relevant link below:-


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 underour 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