- How many sex offenders are registered in your force area whose whereabouts are unknown as of January 17th, 2018?
- Of the registered sex offenders whose whereabouts are unknown, when did each one go missing?
- Please provide the names of the registered sex offenders whose whereabouts are unknown and the convictions that resulted in each one being placed on the sex offenders’ register.
We can confirm that information is held by West Midlands Police in respect of this request. However, I am afraid that we are not required by statute to release all of the information requested. Information is being withheld for question three of your request and this e-mail serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) for the withheld information. You can find the reasoning for this underneath the section titled ‘Reasons for decision’.
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.
Regarding question 1 of your request, there were 46 wanted/missing offenders as of Jan 17th 2018.
For question 2, of these missing offenders the following went missing in each year:
- 2006- 1 offender
- 2010- 1 offender
- 2011- 1 offender
- 2012- 2 offenders
- 2013- 6 offenders
- 2014- 6 offenders
- 2015- 5 offenders
- 2016- 7 offenders
- 2017- 12 offenders
- 2018- 5 offenders
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.
In this case, information is being withheld by virtue of the following exemptions:
- Section 30(1) Investigation and Proceedings
- Section 40(2) Personal Information
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
Section 40(2) is an absolute and class based exemption if to disclose the information exists would breach a third party’s data protection rights.
Whilst we are responding to you under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, Section 40 of the FOIA explicitly references the Data Protection Act.
Moreover, in relation to third party data, Section 40 relieves us of the duty to disclose information if it would breach one of the Data Protection Principles. In this case to disclose the personal information under the FOIA 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 and in this instance, I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in disclosing the information.
In line with Section 30 above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached.