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Begging on a Highway/at Lights (980A/21)


I would like a year breakdown for the two issues below in the years 2018/19/20/21

1) how many arrests/community resolutions etc have been given specifically for begging on a Highway/at lights for the whole of Birmingham

2) how many reports via 101 etc have there been about begging on a highway/at lights for the whole of Birmingham


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. This is because we do not have a central recording category or marker for ‘begging’ on our incident recording system that would enable us to search for the requested information. Therefore, we would have to manually review all incidents recorded from 2018 – 2021. In addition, we are unable to provide the location of arrests because the location field on our arrest database is a free text field which means the entries are usually vague or localised locations (e.g. the name of a specific restaurant or “M6”). However, to conduct these manual searches, would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

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 part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.

However, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide the number of arrests for begging in the West Midlands area. Please find this below.

Year No. Arrests
2018 20
2019 38
2020 9
2021* 0
Total 67

*Due to a major change in West Midlands Police recording systems, the information requested after 6th April 2021 cannot be retrieved. Therefore, unfortunately, we are unable to provide this to you.

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.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:


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