Machete/Acid Crimes (4257_19)
- For the months of November and December 2018 how many crimes were logged by your force where a machete was recorded as being an element in the offence? [Note: I would hope that this could be achieved by a computer search on the MO of crimes for the words “machete” or variants of the spelling to include “machette” and “machetes”.
- Please provide me with a table showing a breakdown of the crimes from Q.1 that are ‘linked’ to machete/s by its mention in the MO.
- Taking the month of December 2018 please provide me with copies of the first 5 MOs that mention machetes. [Note: To avoid falling into an exemption I am content for names, ages, geography or any other personal detail to be redacted].
- For the months of November and December 2018 how many crimes were logged by your force where acid was recorded as being an element in the offence? [Note: I would hope that this could be achieved by a computer search on the MO of crimes for the words “acid” or “acid-attack”.
- Please provide me with a table showing a breakdown of the crimes from Q.4 that are ‘linked’ to acid and acid attacks by its mention in the MO.
- Taking the month of December 2018 please provide me with copies of the first 5 MOs that mention acid. [Note: To avoid falling into an exemption I am content for names, ages, geography or any other personal detail to be redacted].
Please find attached our response.
We can confirm that relevant information is held by West Midlands Police. However, while the majority of the information is attached to this email I am afraid that I am not required by statute to release all of the information requested. Please find attached a redacted attachment. This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) for [the parts of the attachment that have not been released.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Freedom of Information Act places two responsibilities on public authorities, the first of which is to confirm what information it holds and secondly to then disclose that information, unless exemptions apply.
In this case, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for the information that has not been disclosed. The information is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 30(1) – Investigations and Proceedings Conducted By a Public Authority.
Section 40(2) – Personal information
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached.
Section 40(2) is an absolute and class based exemption if to release the information exists would breach the third party’s data protection rights. In this case to release this personal information would not constitute fair processing of the data and therefore would breach the first of the principles within the Data Protection Act 1998. As this exemption is class based I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure and in this instance I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.
For the part of the document that have been disclosed, please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.
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.
To assist, please see a statement issued by our Corporate Communications Team:
West Midlands Police knife crime lead Superintendent Ian Parnell said: “One knife-related crime is one too many. The consequences of carrying knives can be catastrophic. We’ve seen people suffer very serious injuries, while offenders can expect to spend many years behind bars.
“If we look at the level of knife crime across the area we can see that although the statistics have increased recently – mirroring the national picture − it comes following a considerable decline leading up to the last few years. Nevertheless, there is still much work to do.
“The offences will include those where knives have been seen, used or threatened. In many cases no injuries have been caused, but we do understand the impact knife crime has on the community.
“We’re currently preparing for a major operation to tackle knife crime and those who think it’s acceptable to carry blades. We will target wanted suspects, visit repeat offenders, carry out weapons sweeps of open spaces, and carry out test purchase operations to identify shops which are selling knives to under 18s.
“We will also be working with the Border Force to intercept knives and weapons which are being illegally imported to the UK.
“The people we find most often in possession of a knife in public are young men aged between 15 and 19. A common excuse we hear is that it’s for their ‘protection’ – but that is a total fallacy and it’s shocking how many times young men are seriously hurt by the very knife they are carrying.
“That’s why we are working to deter young people from carrying knives through our Precious Lives project. Hundreds of thousands of school pupils have now seen the hard-hitting presentation which is designed to steer them away from knife crime.”
“If you carry or use a knife you are likely to be arrested and prosecuted and, if found guilty, likely to face a substantial prison sentence.”