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Cuckooing offences (88A/24)


I am writing under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request information in relation to ‘cuckooing’ also known as forced home invasion which is described in Home Office guidance as a tactic used by criminals, typically drug dealers, to take over the homes of vulnerable individuals, such as care leavers or those with addiction, physical or mental health issues, and use the property as a base for criminal activity. This is a common characteristic of the county lines business model and can occur in a range of settings such as rental and private properties, student accommodation, prisons, and commercial properties”.

Please provide me with the following information:

  1. Does your police force have a marker or flag for cuckooing in your crime recording database?
  2. How many live cases involving cuckooing is your police force currently responding to or investigating? (as at the date of responding to this request – please provide that date in the response)
  3. How many cuckooed properties did your police force visit in the period July to December 2023 inclusive?


Please find enclosed our response.

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).

We do not have a marker or flag for cuckooing in our crime recording systems.

I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations. I am however willing to consider any refinements that you are able to make to your request, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act.  If you would like to look into refining your request please contact me.


Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOI, S12 (1)). There is no “cuckooing “marker on our system and would potentially be classed as anther / other crimes if discovered. We may utilise many civil powers to address gang activity, but again do not record that data in terms of cuckooing.

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:


As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.


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