Crimes Filed At Source (13565_18)

Request

  1. The number of crimes that have been screened ‘out’ for further investigation or ‘filed’ shortly after it was reported to the police. These are cases which do not qualify for investigation after an initial screening process. Please provide this information for the calendar years 2014-17, and to date (May 25th) for 2018. Please break this information down into individual offence as per the Count Offence Classification Index.
  2. Please can you provide me with the number of crimes reported to your force for the calendar years 2014-17 and to date (May 25th) for 2018. Please break this information down into individual offence as per the Count Offence Classification Index.

Response

Q1 – Please see attached (13565_18_attachment_01.pdf). Please note, West Midlands police proportionately investigates all crime reported to us or that we identify through our police activity. The extent and nature of the investigation will naturally be appropriate to the circumstances, the information and evidence forthcoming in relation to the crime alongside policing knowledge and experience through the use of a solvability matrix.

However the difference for filed at source or not is dependent on the outcome of the initial primary investigation and whether additional lines of enquiry are necessary resulting in the matter being allocated to an investigation team to follow up. If the initial investigation exhausts all proportionate lines of enquiry and these provide no opportunities to identify a suspect then the matter will be filed. This has always been the case with policing, what has changed in recent years with the ability to deal with many aspects of the investigation using technology rather than physical attendance, which saves the time required to drive from one location to another. Victims and people reporting can now upload CCTV and other forms of digital evidence, as well provide the relevant details for a statement which can be shared and signed electronically.

There are a number of departments where crime will be recorded and investigated, which could result in a filed at source. These range from our contact handlers dealing with crimes relating to theft, criminal damage or bilking to investigation officers attending a pre-arranged appointment. These will be recorded and the person reporting asked a number of lines of enquiry to identify if further investigation by physical attendance is necessary, whether the victim or person reporting can provide additional evidence via digital channels, such as the uploading of CCTV or whether any witnesses are known. There is then our response officers attending incidents where crimes are reported and recorded, where all relevant lines of enquiry are conducted at the scene these will be filed at source if no positive outcomes have arisen, no CCTV, witnesses, forensic opportunities etc.

The next relates to our two forms of scheduled appointments for investigation, these are attendance to a pre-arranged appointment by an investigator or contact via telephone to conduct an investigation and take relevant details using technology now available to policing. These matters again can mean that lines of enquiry are exhausted and the matter filed at source.

Therefore in context to the attached document which reflects a wide range of crime types and different investigative methods, hopefully this better explains the approach taken by WMP to investigate crime and the resulting filed at source.

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.

Q2 (01 January 2013 to 31 March 2018) – Under section 21 of the Act, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you. The information you requested is available on the following website and data are broken down into quarters (i.e. quarter 1 = 01 April to 30 June, quarter 4 = 01 January to 31 March etc.) Therefore, in order to extract data for a calendar year, you would take quarter 4 from one set of financial year data and combine it with quarters 1, 2 and 3 from the following set of financial year data:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

Police recorded crime open data Police Force Area tables from year ending March 2013 onwards

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/726495/prc-pfa-mar2013-onwards-tables.ods

Q2 (01 April 2018 to 25 May 2018) – This information is exempt by virtue of Section 22(1) (Information intended for future publication). The information you requested is due to be made available on the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-recorded-crime-open-data-tables

This exemption and explanatory notes is shown here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#foia-section-22-information-intended-for-future-publication

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure:

While release of this information may enhance public knowledge of this area, to respond to this request at this time would require the information to be retrieved and collated, and would involve a disproportionate use of resources. In addition, uncoordinated release of this information before the data are properly verified could result in the release of inaccurate or misleading data.

The issue of public awareness is noted. However, on balance it is my opinion that the above factor for release, is outweighed by the factors for non-release and therefore the public interest at this time favours maintaining the exemption with regard to the 2018 data (from 01 April 2018).

Attachments

13565_18_attachment_01

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