This request is made with the aims of understanding the effects, nature and occurrence of ‘weaponised COVID-19’; the use of COVID-19 as an aggravating factor in crimes against Police Officers and Police staff. I would like to request information to be released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would like to request that the following information, if such data is indeed held and accessible, is disclosed:
1) How many crimes, or relevant notifiable incidents (e.g. Resist arrest), with a Police Officer or Police Staff (e.g. detention officer/PCSO etc) as a victim, have been recorded with an aggravating factor (e.g. suggested COVID:19 illness factor in assault) of COVID:19 between January 2020 and the current date?
2) In these instances of crimes or incidents against Police Officers and staff was an arrest made of a perpetrator?
3) In cases where an arrest was made what was the listed case disposal (if known)?
4) In cases where an arrest was not made what was the listed case disposal (if known)?
5) What has been the gender of the perpetrator in all cases?
6) What has been the gender of the victim?
Please be advised that the information that you have requested is not available in a readily retrievable format. This is because there are no markers on our systems that would enable us to identify crimes or incidents relating to coronavirus. Therefore, to try to identify the requested information we would have to retrieve all crimes and incidents recorded between 1st January 2020 and the current date and manually review each one. This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this request.
Unfortunately, due to the reasons outlined above, I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations. I am however, willing to consider any refinements that you are able to make to your request, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here.