I am sending this request under the Freedom of Information Act to ask for the following information:
(1) How many reports of sexual offences were made to your police force, broken down by the ethnicity of (i) the alleged victims, and (ii) the alleged perpetrators, in the financial years:
- 2019-20 to date
2) How many arrests for sexual offences were made by your officers, broken down by the ethnicity of (i) the alleged victims, and (ii) the alleged perpetrators in the financial years:
- 2019-20 to date
3) For the arrests identified in the answer to Q2a-e, please can you tell me what the outcome of the arrest was (e.g. charged, released on bail, released under investigation etc) with a breakdown by the ethnicity of the alleged victim.
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). In our arrest database people are often arrested for multiple offences and the system shows a separate line or entry for every offence for which they are dealt with. However, only one custody reference number is issued for each detention. Therefore the number of people arrested will never match the number of arrests and would involve a manual search in order to locate and retrieve the requested information. Likewise victim ethnicity is not included within the arrest database, therefore we would need to cross reference with other systems, again this would exceed the FOI time limit.
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.