Child Detentions (1924/15)

Request

1) How many children under the age of ten have been detained by the police force from the year 2000 until the present day?

2) Please include in your response the following information:
a) Age, gender and (if possible) birthdate of child.
b) Reason for detention. In cases of a criminal act having been carried out, please use the terms that would be applied to adults and young offenders arrested for the same act.
c) Location of arrest. (Street name etc not required, please include   town/city/geographic area (north, south, east, west) in the cases of larger cities.

3) If the same child is detained on more than one occasion, and so appears twice or more in the list, please indicate they are the same person to allow for more accurate reporting.

Response

The response is attached (1924_Attachment). Please note that children under the age of 10 are not considered to have reached an age where they can be held responsible for their crimes. Because they are under the age of ‘criminal responsibility’ they cannot be charged with any criminal offence. No child under the age of ten shall be guilty of a crime, however they can still commit an offence which will be recorded.  The Home Office Counting Rules state …. ‘All reports of crimes made where the offender (if age known or otherwise) is under the age of 10 years should be recorded as a crime’. Children aged 10-14 can be convicted of a criminal offence if it can be proved that they were aware that what they were doing was seriously wrong.

While the majority of the information is attached to this email I am afraid that I am not required by statute to release all of the information requested. In this case this letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) for the parts of the document that have not been released. The information (specifically the date of birth of the child arrested) is exempt by virtue of Section 40 (2) Personal Data.

Please note that the information has been provided in separate tables to ensure an individual is not identified. This is an absolute and class based exemption if to release the information exists would breach the third party’s data protection rights.  In this case to release this personal information would not constitute fair processing of the data and therefore would breach the first of the principles within the Data Protection Act 1998. As this exemption is class based I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure and in this instance I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.

This exemption and explanatory notes is shown here:

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/docs/advice-centre/foi/exemptions.pdf

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.

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

1924_ATTACHMENT

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