Registered Sex Offenders (975A/23)
I am writing to you under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to request information regarding the current status of registered sex offenders within your jurisdiction.
Specifically, I would like to obtain information on the number of registered sex offenders whose whereabouts are unknown, as well as any available details regarding the crimes committed by these missing offenders. I am particularly interested in cases involving rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of children.
I understand that police forces play a vital role in monitoring and managing registered sex offenders to ensure public safety. Therefore, I kindly request the following information for the period of the last five years:
– The total number of registered sex offenders within your jurisdiction.
– The number of registered sex offenders whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
– Any available details regarding the crimes committed by the missing registered sex offenders, including but not limited to cases of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of children.
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).
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). 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.
These totals are only valid for the date in question because the information is dynamic and changes as arrests are made or new cases come to light through proactive intelligence led policing or routine visits to registered offenders.
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
Please note that researching each individual case would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).
To locate and retrieve the individual crimes as requested in the final question would exceed the FOI time limit, we would need to manually review all of the 238 records, which at 30 minutes per record would equate to 119 hours.
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.