Victimless Crimes - 423/12
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 12/05/2012
Date of response: 23/05/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 12 May 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.
"1. Could you give me the detailed figures (spreadsheet if possible) for all police raids on private homes suspected of growing cannabis and commercial premisses, detailing the types of premises which were raided and how many of these raids found "NO" cannabis growing on all dates since 2005 or early as possible and how many did contain growing plants for personal use and/or commercial use stating which.
Also on the properties raided how many claims were:
2. Made for damage to property and how many were paid out
3. The amounts paid out on each claim (if paid)
4. How long it took to pay their claims.
5. The amounts claimed v amount paid on each occasion.
6. Who paid these claims? (insurance company/force budget)
7. If so which company was it (and the yearly premium paid)
8. Could you also separate each localised divisions within the Northumbria police area on their yearly spend on such safeguards against people committing such victimless crimes as growing cannabis for personal use and those who are growing on a large commercial scale for profit.
9. Could you also break down the annual budget set aside for investigating harmful crimes as opposed to harmless crimes where there is no victim "such as "growing cannabis" and any traffic offences such as breaking speeding rules or non wearing of seat belts and other victimless offences. (I believe you clearly record if these offences have caused harm to others and those which have not at the time of arrest or at the time of a charge or caution.
10. How many arrests were made each year from 2005 for victimless crimes and how many were charged and how many were convicted of these charges.
11. How many arrested refused to give a name and were later released without charge.
11.1 How many were cautioned
11.2 How Many refused to give a name or contract
11.3 How many refused to agree to being a person
11.4 How many were release without charge or caution."
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 Finance 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.
This information is not held centrally nor in an easily retrievable format. A random search was carried out for the year 2010. This search revealed almost 1500 premises were searched under the power conferred by a search warrant. Each of these would require a manual viewing to establish whether the premises had been searched to discover growing cannabis plants. For a one year period for this part alone 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 50 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 for parts 1- 7 as the first part of this request would be required to establish those parts of the request.
With regards to parts 10 and 11 there is no clear legal definition of a 'victimless crime'. If you can be specific as to what crime you are interested in we may be able to provide information relating to arrests and charges only. However until we receive this, depending on the numbers, we will not know if this can be done within the specified time allowed.
If this would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.
I can advise that we do not hold any information regarding parts 8 and 9. We do not budget down to the level you have requested.
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.