Disclosure Details

Police cells- 699/14

Dated: 24 Sep 2014

Date of request:      28/08/14

Date of response:  15/09/14

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 August 2014 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'm requesting information about people being kept overnight in police cells under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

1: How often were those detained by your officers, held in police custody cells overnight during 2013 and for as much of 2014 as you have figures.

2: What age were those kept in custody overnight - specifically, how many were under 18 and how many were over 60. 

3: Why were these overnight detentions necessary? Please give as detailed an explanation as you can: either for each individual case or as a percentage breakdown of the total number of overnight detentions.

4: What has your force done to ensure overnight stays in police cells are reduced in number, especially for children and for those with mental health needs.

In response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

 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 Criminal Justice Unit 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 data requested cannot be retrieved from the Northumbria Police Integrated Computer and Communications System (NPICCS). The Computerised Custody Recording system automatically records the time of arrival of a detainee but the time of departure is manually recorded on a hard-copy record.
Northumbria Police has several custody suites where individuals are detained.  Each hold their own paper based copies.
In order to accurately reflect the number of those detained overnight in police cells a manual search, retrieval, examination and analysis of each of these records would need to be carried out.
With approximately 18000 individuals brought into custody each year, to establish which were held overnight, how many were under 18 years old, how many were over 60 years old, and why each individual was detained, even at a conservatives estimate of 4 minutes per record, which we have estimated as a minimum, to locate and extract this information,  we have estimated  this information would take over 1200 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 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.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103