School Offences (5136_14)

Request

Please could you provide a breakdown of all rape and other sexual offences that were recorded to have taken place in the location of a school, for the last three years (2011, 2012 and 2013).

Please breakdown the statistics by:

(a) year

(b) type of crime – rape or other sexual offence

(c) Whether the suspect was an adult or a child (if known)

(d) Whether the victim was an adult or a child

NB: I appreciate that, in some cases, a crime may be recorded but the exact location (or category of location) may not be included on the records. However, this FOI request concerns only those crimes that are specifically recorded to have happened at the location of a school.

Response

Please find attached (5136_attachment_01.pdf).

In addition to the attached response, West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to your request as the duty in s1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 23(5) Information supplied by or concerning certain Security Bodies

Section 30(3) Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities

Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case. Confirming or denying the existence of whether information is held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on disclosure of any information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies.

Section 30 is a qualified class-based exemption and there is a requirement to conduct a public interest test.

Public Interest Considerations

Section 30

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

Confirming or denying that any other information exists relevant to this request would lead to a better informed public improving their knowledge and understanding of the investigatory process involving sexual offences that were recorded to have taken place in the location of a school. As all investigations are publicly funded, confirmation that any other information is held would provide transparency with regard to budgets that are allocated to investigate offences.

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming or denying that any other information is held

The Police Service will never disclose information which could identify investigative activity and therefore undermine their investigations. To do so would hinder the prevention or detection of crime.

Confirmation that any other information is held would prejudice how investigations are carried out in the future by revealing potential covert investigative activity. This would hinder the prevention and detection of crime and affect West Midlands Police law enforcement capabilities. Confirmation would also undermine the partnership approach to investigations.

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying that any other information pertinent to this request exists. The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. As part of that policing purpose, information is gathered which can be highly sensitive. Irrespective of what other information may or may not be held, confirmation or denial that any other information is held relating to sexual offences in schools would identify investigative activity.

Weakening the mechanisms used to monitor any type of criminal activity, would place relations between West Midlands Police and other law enforcement agencies at risk.

Having considered all of the factors, at this moment in time, it is my opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that any other information is held pertinent to this request.

No inference can be drawn from this refusal that other information is or isn’t held.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

Attachments

5136_attachment_01

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