Mobile devices 775/13
Dated: 28 Oct 2013
Date of request: 14/10/2013
Date of response: 28/10/2013
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 14 October 2013 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.
Could you please supply me with the following information:
1. How many mobile devices were reported lost / stolen in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (so far this year).
2. How many mobile device thefts resulted in recovery of the device (2011, 2012 and 2013 so far this year)
3. How many mobile device thefts resulted in convictions (2011, 2012 and 2013 so far this year)
4. How much money do you spend on mobile device crime each year (2011, 2012 and 2013 so far this year).
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 Strategy and Performance Unit and Finance Department of 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 reason.
The information you have requested is not held centrally or in an easily retrievable format.
An initial search was carried out of all incidents with the words 'mobile' 'phone' 'tablet' 'ipad' iphone' and 'blackberry' in the description, for the financial years 2011/12 and 2012/13. The results were filtered to those with an opening code of 'Theft/handling' or 'Lost/found property'.This brought up over 15,100 incidents.To establish which, if any, of those meet the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually searching those records. Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 500 hours for those financial years alone. Further searches would then be required to extract the information required for the remainder of the timescale specified.
I can advise that there is no specific theft code for 'theft of mobile device' or 'theft of mobile phone', any such offences may be crimed as "other theft", "theft by an employee", "theft from the person", "robbery" or "theft in a dwelling". A search was carried out of these offences with a positive disposal for the financial year 2012/13. This brought up more than 2,100 records. To determine which, if any of those relate to theft of mobile device would require a manual review of each crime. Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information for the financial year 2012/13 alone would take over a further 70 hours.
Since more than one part of your request would exceed the time limit specified by the Act, 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 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.
I can advise that, with regards to question 4, that no information is held. The Force does not separately report spend for mobile device crime.
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 data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
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.