I am writing to request anonymous information about recorded stalking offences where the victim is male.(The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012/Protection from Harassment Act 1997) that have been reported and recorded by your constabulary.
Please could you state the annual total number of offences recorded during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 calendar years.
Please state the total number of offences recorded during the 2017 calendar year up to October 1 2017.
I have also attached a request form to provide further breakdown of anonymous individual level data.
For each offence you have recorded in the annual totals, please provide further breakdown using the attached form.
Please find attached our response.
Whilst I have attached the majority of information requested to this email, I am afraid that I am not required by statute to release all of the information that you have requested. This is in respect of providing an individual breakdown for each record to the level of detail that you require. I have, however given breakdowns on information to a level that would not be harmful to release. Any further breakdown of information is exempt. For the information that has not been released, namely a breakdown on summaries of each individual report, this serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
An explanation for this partial refusal can be found underneath the section titled ‘Reasons for Decision’. We have made an effort to provide information that we believe will be of most interest to you, which involved a consideration of the form you attached in your request.
Please note, the data in the tables 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.
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, the information is exempt by virtue of the following exemptions
- Section 31 (1) (a) – Law enforcement
- Section 38 (1) – Health and safety
- Section 40(2) – Personal Data
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
This statutory provision under the FOIA allows for information to be withheld where release would breach the third party’s data protection rights. In this case, it would be unfair to release this information where it relates to an identifiable individual.
Whilst we are responding to you under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, Section 40 of the FOIA explicitly references the Data Protection Act.
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. Furthermore, in line with the second data protection principle, personal information that West Midlands Police holds on individuals must be processed for limited purposes. Public disclosure under the FOIA would not be one of the purposes that we process the personal information. It is important to note that the FOIA is designed to place information into the public domain, that is, once access to information is granted to one person under the Act, it is then considered public information and must be communicated to any individual should a request be received. I am not required to identify the harm in disclosure because this exemption is class based and in this instance, I believe that the right to privacy outweighs any public interest in release.
Sections 31 and 38
In line with Sections 31 and 38 above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached.