Establishment Figures - 383/12
Dated: 29 May 2012
Date of request: 24/04/2012
Date of response: 29/05/2012
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 24 April 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. Broken down by each of the categories listed at point 2, the number of full-time equivalent officers, civilian staff and PCSOs within the police force’s establishment as of the following dates:
March 2009; March 2010; March 2011; March 2012
The requested figures are ‘as of’ each March for each given year, or alternatively each April if this is when the force routinely collates the information. In the event that fulfilling this request would exceed the section 12 time limit, please exclude 2009 figures.
Officers, staff and PCSOs not employed within the staffing categories listed at point 2 should be excluded from the data. Please list officers, civilian staff and PCSOs separately for each staffing category listed at point 2.
2. The categories referred to at point 1 are those listed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in its definition of frontline policing:
- Community safety/relations
- Probationers (Student Officers)
- Firearms (tactical)
- Firearms (specialist)
- Marine / Underwater
- Surveillance Unit
- Ports / Special Branch / Protection / Immigration / Nationality
- Child / Sex/ Domestic / Missing Persons
- Fingerprints / Photographic
- Scenes of Crime
- Technical Support Unit (specialist, not process support)
- Asset Confiscation (specialist, not process support)
- Burglary (specialist, not process support)
- CID (specialist, not process support)
- CID – Specialist Crime Unit (specialist, not process support)
- Drugs (specialist, not process support)
- Fraud (specialist, not process support)
- Hate Crime (specialist, not process support)
- Vehicle Crime (specialist, not process support)
- Intelligence (specialist, not process support)
- Vice (specialist, not process support)
- Control Room / Call Handling (process management, not process support)
- Enquiry / Station Counters
- Local Commanders
- Police Standards Unit (process management, not process support)
It is recognised that it may not always be possible to identify process management and process support roles, in which case please provide overall figures for each HMIC staffing category (split between officers, civilian staff and PCSOs).
Where the force wishes to redact data for certain HMIC categories under section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act, please provide aggregated totals for the affected categories (split between officers, civilian staff and PCSOs).
3. Where the police force does not hold or cannot access the requested information in the form requested at point 1 (i.e. broken down by staff categories as at point 2), please provide the information broken down by the most detailed categorisation available within the appropriate time limit under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. In this event, please provide figures across the entire staffing establishment (not just frontline categories), and then highlight the figures that apply to frontline posts and categories (please also provide the police force’s definition of ‘frontline’ for the purposes of responding to this request).
If the police force responds to this request in line with the categories listed at point 2, it may ignore point 3.
Please note that the official value for money profiles published for each force by HMIC do not break down staffing numbers for each HMIC staffing category between staff, officers, and PCSOs, and therefore are not sufficient to fulfil this request.
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 HR Department 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.
1. The figures provided for each of the respective years are all expressed as a full time equivalent (FTE) and were taken from the Annual Data Returns submitted to the home office for each respective year.
2. Appendix ‘A’ contains the overall figures for each HMIC category and have not been split into specialist / process management or process support as this would exceed the time limit allowed.
As per your previous request FOI 646/11, data regarding Surveillance, Technical Support, Public Protection and Special Branch have not been included and by withholding we rely on the following exemption.
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 notice acts as a refusal notice under the provisions of Section 17(1) of the Freedom of information Act 2000. By virtue of the listed exemption.
Section 31(1) is a prejudice and qualified based exemption, therefore, there is a requirement to articulate the harm disclosure would cause and also requires the public interest to be considered.
Harm in Disclosure
To produce the number of staff working in these areas would disclose the capability and capacity of Northumbria Police to undertake such activities. This would in turn provide useful tactical information to those who choose to indulge in unlawful activity pointing to the capability of Northumbria Police to record or gain evidence relating to such unlawful activities. By mapping the capabilities in various force areas a clear picture can be produced showing where resources are concentrated. If this information was provided over an extended period, groups could draw conclusions on any increase or decrease in the staffing levels, leading to possible identification of ongoing operations or changes in proactive focus of forces.
Factors Favouring Disclosure
The disclosure of the figures will show that the force takes seriously the function of these areas and resources accordingly.
The information will aid the accuracy of any public debate on whether public money is being invested appropriately and in line with public opinion.
Factors favouring Non-Disclosure
Efficient and Effective Conduct of the Force
Disclosure is likely to compromise the law enforcement capability of the force. Resource information can give an advantage to someone looking to exploit any potential weaknesses in a forces tactical planning. Any increased activity as a result of that either real or perceived weakness will mean the diversion of other resources or a reduction in the capability of the force.
Any disclosure which may increase the risk of harm being caused in the public arena is not desirable.
There is a requirement in any public interest test to balance the factors favouring disclosure with those against. The police service is already held to account on how it uses its resources, on behalf of the public, by Police Authorities and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. Those processes are effective and long standing and are not enhanced by any disclosure in this case. The public entrust the Police to make appropriate decisions with regard to their protection, and the only way of reducing the risk is to be ultra cautious. At this time, as per previously, it is undesirable to provide the number of staff in these areas.
3. As we have provided a response to 2 above we have ignored this point, as advised by yourself.
The remainder of your request is answered in the below attached document.
Northumbria Police is committed to maintaining visible policing services to our communities - as delivered by 24/7 response officers, neighbourhood policing teams and the Community Support Officers who patrol our neighbourhoods.
This means having local police and community support officers who are easily accessible for people to talk to and provide the support people need.
Where vacancies arise in visible policing services we fill them with officers from other areas of the organisation.
There has been no reduction in 24/7 response officers, neighbourhood policing teams or in the number of Community Support Officers who patrol our neighbourhoods. We also have detectives who continue to work with neighbourhood teams.
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.
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