Trafficking - 927/16
Dated: 02 Sep 2016
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your e mail dated 18 August 2016 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 at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
The number of arrests broken down by year of the following offences since they came into effect (unless stated otherwise):
1. Kerb Crawling - Sections 1of the Sexual Offences Act 1985 (figures from 2004)
2. Soliciting in a public place – Section 51A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (as inserted by Section 19 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009).
3. Trafficking for sexual exploitation -Sections 57, 58 and 59 Sexual offences Act 2003, plus Section 59a (in effect from 2013) broken down by section and year.
4. Sex with a coerced, deceived or threatened person - 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (as inserted by section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009
5. Offence of slavery, servitude or forced and compulsory labour - Section 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
6. Human trafficking - Section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
7. Committing an offence with the intention of committing human trafficking - Section 4 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
8. Current Force Policy documents on Trafficking and Persons Trafficked for Sexual Exploitation.
9. Number of staff (Full time equivalent) dedicated to sex trafficking enforcement and prevention in financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, broken down by year.
10. Annual Budget allocated to the enforcement and prevention of sex trafficking financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, broken down by 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 Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
1. to 7 - see below attached.
8. Northumbria Police will not be providing this information by virtue of the following exemption under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
Section 31 (1) (a) (b): Law Enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to prejudice
a) the prevention or detection of crime
b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders
This exemption is a qualified and prejudice based exemption and therefore the legislators accept that there may be harm if released into the public domain. The authority has to consider and describe the harm that would occur if the information were released and carry out a public interest test. In accordance with best practice, I detail the harm first.
Disclosure of this information may be harmful to victims of such crimes, Northumbria Police, and local communities as it documents police procedures which would enable criminals to deploy tactics to attempt to evade detection for these offences. This would be detrimental to our ability to effectively police and to protect individuals and would also have an adverse effect for the local community as criminals may be able to act with perceived less risk of apprehension in the area.
Factors favouring Disclosure
Provision of this data would reassure the public that Northumbria Police is actively policing this type of crime and that safety of individuals and communities is paramount. It would also demonstrate our officers are using their time effectively in this regard. Disclosure would contribute to the accuracy and quality of public debate.
Factors favouring Non-Disclosure
Releasing data and operational tactics with regards to such offences would give those individuals with the intent to do so, the intelligence required to disrupt police activity. This knowledge would mean that offenders would be able to target their offending more effectively which would inevitably lead to an increased likelihood of criminal activity and an increased danger to individuals and the public.
On a national level, criminals would be able to use this knowledge to their own advantage in furthering criminal activity around the country.
The disclosure of information which is likely to undermine the Police service’s ability to serve the public in preventing and detecting crime can only be considered as being harmful to the public.
Providing this information would mean that law enforcement tactics would be compromised which would hinder the prevention and detection of crime. Individuals obtaining knowledge about such procedures being used by individual forces could employ evading tactics and therefore the public will be placed at a greater risk.
Northumbria Police will not disclose information which will place individuals at risk or undermine the law enforcement capabilities of the Force.
In this instance, it is my decision that the reasons for non-disclosure outweigh those in favour of disclosure. You should consider this a refusal under Section 17 of the Act.
9. The information provided at this point relates to those who have responsibility for the enforcement and prevention for sex trafficking however their role will involve working together with our partners to protect a range of vulnerable people within the community - they are not soley dedicated to the detection and prevention of sex trafficking.
FTE of Sections responsible for Sex
10. As we advised in our response to FOI 838/16, no information is held regarding this question, there is no separate budget allocated for sex trafficking
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.