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Dog Thefts (1210A/23)


  1. Please can you tell me the number of dog thefts reported to your force for each of the following financial years: 2018-19, 2019-2020, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23?
  2. If possible, please state the three most commonly stolen breeds of dog and the number of each taken?
  3. Please can you tell me the number of charges there were for dog thefts brought against people in the years stated above?
  4. If possible within the cost limit – how many of the dogs reported stolen in question 1 were found or recovered?


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

With regard to question 2, the breed of dog is not a mandatory recording field on our crime recording system. Sometimes officers will note this down in the ‘property notes’ field, however this is a free text field and therefore it is the officer’s discretion as to whether they input anything into this field. The breed may have been noted down somewhere else within the case files (i.e. within the summary field or within the larger case file records). From the 252 dog theft records we have identified for this request, half of them have the property notes field left blank. This means that in order to identify the breed of dog for each of these cases, we would need to manually go into each individual crime record. Similarly, with regard to question 4, the ‘property status’ is not a mandatory recording field and is therefore seldom updated to reflect whether property has been recovered or not. This means that in order to answer this question, we would need to manually read the case notes of each individual crime record. However, to manually review all of these cases 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 information for questions 1 & 3 as this was retrieved during our initial research. Please find this information below.

Financial Year Distinct Crime Count Charge Outcomes
2018-2019 23 0
2019-2020 18 0
2020-2021 18 0
2021-2022 97 2
2022-2023 96 0

This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:


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