Thefts at Churches - 968/11
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 02/12/2011
Date of response: 13/12/2011
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 2nd December 2011 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.
Could you please tell me the number of recorded breaches and/ or incidents at churches in your police force area last 12 full months prior to the receipt of this email,specifically between December 2010-November 2011. I would like a breakdown of incidents which have taken place and where they have happened (eg. The graveyard, St Meddans Church, Troon). Could you tell me what has been damaged or/ and stolen from the church.
I would like a detailed breakdown of the type of thefts, or incidents which have taken place (either proven or alleged), where the attacks took place (in the church, on the surrounding grounds),and any conviction that has taken place (if this is in your ability to expand).
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, however can not be disclosed for the following reason.
To provide information which meets the criteria of your request would entail a member of staff manually searching all crime records which included the words 'Abbey', 'Cathedral', 'Cemetery', 'Chapel', 'Church', 'Church Hall', 'Church Yard', 'Convent', 'Crematorium', 'Hall Jehovah Witness', 'Hall Gospel', 'Hall Salvation Army', 'Monastery', 'Mosque', 'Place of Worship', 'Presbytery', 'Priory', 'Rectory', 'Religious Retreat', 'Synagogue', 'Temple' and 'Vicarage'. Each incident would then require a manual viewing to discount those that did not apply to your request - such as vicarage. The same process would apply to incidents however the premises type field is not always completed so this would not give an accurate indication of incidents in churches. We have estimated that to extract this information would take over 18 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.
As part of your request would exceed the prescribed limit, as defined by the Act, there is no requirement for Northumbria Police to provide a response to the remaining parts of your request. However, in order to provide you with some assistance, under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an initial assessment of the information that may be provided within the time constraints would be crimes at all places of worship for the time period specified, down to area command level only. This may include the location - ie Church internal/external, property stolen and crime type - ie theft, criminal damage etc. You should however be aware information would not be disclosed where investigations may be ongoing/compromised or where an individuals rights would be breached under the Data Protection Act - some locations may have private residences within their grounds. Any such information would be exempt and therefore withheld.
If this would be useful you may wish to define and resubmit your request accordingly.
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.