Registered Sex Offenders (676A/23)
For each of the past five years that you have data available, can you specify:
- How many sex offenders were registered with the force and subject to indefinite notification requirements (i.e. they were on the “sex offenders register”)?
- How many individuals applied to have those indefinite notification requirements revoked (i.e. to be “removed from the sex offenders register”)?
- How many of those individuals were successful in those applications?
- What offences had those individuals committed?
- How many individuals on the register went missing?
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 attached file 676A_23_attachment.pdf). 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.
Please Note – Our main priority is to protect the most vulnerable from harm.
We have detectives who specialise in monitoring sex offenders who work with our partners to actively locate these people and we continually work with our police colleagues across the world to trace them.
As a matter of course, details of all missing registered sex offenders are circulated on the Police National Computer and to all forces and law enforcement agencies.
Our approach to finding these people is assessed on a case by case basis so we can maximise, rather than compromise, our opportunities to find and arrest them.
REASON FOR DECISION
Regarding questions 1 and 5 (i.e. “How many sex offenders were registered with the force and subject to indefinite notification requirements and How many individuals on the register went missing?”) there are no search parameters on our systems that allow us to easily determine this information. Therefore, we would need to conduct a manual check of all current ViSOR records, as well as a search of historical records. Such a search however would be a huge undertaking, requiring the examination of thousands of records and far exceed the appropriate limit under Section 12 (Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit) of the Freedom of Information Act.
Similarly, regarding question 4 (“What offences had those individuals committed?”), it is not possible to determine this information without manually going into the records of the more than 200 individuals identified in question 3. However, at an estimated 15 minutes per record, this search would take over 50 hours and 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: