Legal highs" - 644/13
Dated: 27 Aug 2013
Date of request: 20/08/2013
Date of response: 27/08/2013
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 20 August 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.
1) The number of reports received by Northumbria Police regarding the use of "legal highs" in the Sunderland Area Command area between January 2012 and July 2013.
2) The number of people arrested in relation to cases involving "legal highs" in the Sunderland Area Command area between January 2012 and July 2013.
3) Description of any pro-active action taken by Northumbria Police in relation to warnings about "legal highs" in the Sunderland Area Command area between January 2012 and July 2013.
4) Official names of "legal highs" that have come to the attention of Northumbria Police since January 2012.
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 Sunderland Area Command of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.
2. Your query at this point is a contradiction, there is no power of arrest for 'Legal highs'. Where an investigation identifies a controlled drug arrests are made under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and in turn that is no longer classed as a Legal High incident.
3. As the information you have requested at this point is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.
I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.
Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means
Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.
Northumbria Police have issued numerous press releases relating to legal highs. These can be found on the Northumbria Police website by doing a simple search with the keywords legal high.
In order to assist I have provided the link to the website below.
4. This part of your request is open to interpretation as to what is meant by 'official name' as Legal Highs will sometimes have a chemical name (subject to analysis), may have a commercial name that it is marketed under, and to add an additional layer of complexity there is often some disparity about the chemical composition of commercial substance from batch to batch.
However in order to assist we have given the below:
Dust til Dawn
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.