Disclosure Details

Search and Rescue - 696/12

Dated: 07 Jun 2011

Date of request:   31/08/2012

Date of response:   24/09/2012 

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)

Thank you for your email dated 31 August 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.

You asked: 

"Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, I request the following information for the last five years for which complete records are available.

  1. The amount of money allocated to specialist search and rescue training across your force.

  2. The number of trained specialist search officers in your force.

  3. The number of missing persons reported in your force area.

For the sake of clarity, this request does not include persons Wanted in connection with a criminal investigation.

By specialist search teams, I mean a unit that is usually constituted or able to be called upon to carry out a search function. For clarity I do not mean the air support unit."

In response:

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

As advised earlier, this request has been aggregated with your previous request, FOI 657/12, due to the cost and time implications as it refers to the same subject area.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Corporate Development and HR Departments of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.  However, despite our initial assessment on what we may be able to provide in our previous response, FOI 657/12 refers, to provide information which meets the criteria of your redefined request, particularly at question 1 would entail a member of staff manually searching over 3,775 financial transaction records to establish which related specifically to search and rescue training, as we do not separately budget, identify or cost search and rescue training within the Financial system.  Even at a conservative estimate of 2 minutes per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract information to respond to this part of your request alone would take over 125 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 your request.

Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, on this occasion as a gesture of goodwill outside of the Act, I have supplied information below, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded.  I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.

2. The below shows all specialist trained search officers (headcount) excluding the more specialised functions such as Air Support, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear, Firearms etc at 6 September 2012.

DVI - Body Recovery 51
Police Search Advisor  10
Police Search Trained 131
Security Coordinator 7

Data is not available for previous years as this was recorded on local spreadsheets/databases which were updated dynamically and therefore historic data was not retained.


2008/09  -  3,689
2009/10  -  4,179
2010/11  -  4,880
2011/12  -  5,166
2012/13  -  1,970

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish information that has been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 via the Disclosure Log.  The aim of the Disclosure Log is to promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into the public arena.

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the public interest.  The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the requester.  I have provided the relevant link below:-


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_tcm4-28029