I am sending this request under the Freedom of Information Act to ask for the following information:
1) Please can you tell me how many missing persons’ cases in your police force area were initially assigned the following risk levels: no apparent risk (Absent), low risk, medium risk, high risk each in the calendar years;
2) Please can you breakdown the information identified in the answers to Question 1 by gender of the individuals
3) Please can you further breakdown the information identified in the answers to Question 2 by whether the individual was a child or an adult (under 18 or 18 and over)
4) Please can you further breakdown the information identified in the answers to Question 3 by the ethnicity of the individuals
5) Please can you further breakdown the information identified in the answers to Question 4 by the outcomes of the cases
Subject to your section 12 Refusal Notice on the grounds of cost providing this information, could you please demonstrate your working for how you came to that conclusion? I’d really like to get a gauge of how long it would take to do a manual search for the information relating to no (absent) risk category so I can amend the time frame or scope of my FOI request?
Thank you for sending through the information relating to low, medium and high risk cases in your force. However, would it be possible to please breakdown the information.
Q2 asks to breakdown the information in Q1 by gender i.e. how many low, medium, high risk cases in 2017 were male, female, transgender or unknown etc.
Q3 asks to further breakdown the information in Q2 by whether the individuals were aged over or under 18 years i.e. how many low risk males were over 18 and under 18 etc.
Q4 asks to further breakdown the information in Q3 by ethnicity of the individuals i.e. how many low risk males under 18 were IC1, IC2, IC3, IC4, IC5, IC6, IC7 etc.
For Q5 could you please further breakdown the information in Q4 by outcome, i.e. how many low risk males under 18 who were IC1 were found, remain missing etc.
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).
Although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.
REASON FOR DECISION
Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12). It is not possible to break the categories down to Low, Medium, High risk as our missing persons system cannot retrieve this level of data. The only other way to get the data would be to look at each individual record, which for 2 years is around 16000 records which cannot be completed in 18 hours.
The cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: