County Lines (1140A/23)
Please provide the following information, per calendar year, for the years 2019, 2020,2021,2022
1) How many drug supply arrests of juveniles aged 16 or under have been recorded that are deemed to be “County Lines” offences? Could these figures be broken down by year, please?
2) If your Force does not distinguish drug supply offences as “County Lines” or not then please supply the information in question 1 as generic drug supply with an offender aged 16 or under.
3) How old was the youngest person arrested by the force for a “County Lines” offence?
Please be advised that the information that you have requested is not all available in a readily retrievable format. Information pertaining to county lines prior to April 2020 is not held in a centrally collated format. We do not have a flag or marker on our crime recording systems that would enable us to easily identify ‘county lines crimes’. Therefore, to try and determine the requested information prior to this time we would need to manually review every single drug arrest of a juvenile aged 16 or under recorded in the period stated. Such a search however would require a trawl of hundreds of records, which would far 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.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:
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 advise that a County Lines Task Force (CLTF) was established and operational from April 2020. As such, we can provide information held by CLTF in financial years for the period April 2020 – March 2023. Please find this information attached (1140A_Attachment).
This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.
In addition to the attached response, West Midlands Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to this request as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemption:
Section 23(5) – Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies
Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest in this case.
Confirming or denying the existence of whether any other information is held would contravene the constrictions laid out within Section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in that this stipulates a generic bar on disclosure of any information applied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies.
This exemption and explanatory notes are shown here:
No inference can be taken from this refusal that any further information relevant to your request does or does not exist.