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Custody Images (1648A/23)


  1. The number of custody images currently held by the force.
  2. The number of requests received by the force for custody images to be deleted since 1 November 2022.
  3. The number of custody images deleted by the force since 1 November 2022.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘REASON FOR DECISION’ below).

However, 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 answers to questions 2 and 3 as follows):

2. The number of requests received for images to be deleted from 1st November 2022 – Current date (24th October 2023) is 21.

3. The number of images we have deleted from 1st November 2022 – Current date (24th October 2023) is 29. This figure is higher than the total requests, as we proactively look at the whole record when a request comes in to see if any other images can also be deleted from the record under MOPI retention schedules.

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.

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 (custody images), we do not collate this figure and this cannot be directly reported on from our systems. Therefore, to determine this information we would need to separately go into every custody record. However, this would require a manual trawl of tens of thousands of records even for one year. Such a search would be a huge undertaking and far exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that 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:

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.


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