Skip to content

Lost Forensic Material (1158A/22)


  1. Over the past five years how nay times has forensic information/material been lost by your force?
  2. Over the past five years how many times has forensic material/information been contaminated by your force?
  3. On average, how long does your force retain forensic material/information linked to serious crime?
  4. How and where is forensic material stored?


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. In relation to question 1, lost forensic material was not centrally collated by our Forensic Services Department prior to 2019. Therefore, to try to determine information prior to 2019 would require manually trawling through all records held on their systems. Such a search, however, 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, under Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide answers to the remaining questions as this was retrieved during our initial research. Please see attached document.

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: