a) The number of suspects that were released under investigation by the force between 1/8/18 and 31/7/19. If possible within cost constraints, please provide a breakdown of the crime type ie the number of people accused of murder, for example.
b) The number of those in a) that have gone on to offend while released under investigation. If possible within cost constraints, please provide a breakdown of the original offence and the alleged offence leading to their re-arrest or charge.
Please be advised that the information that you have requested is not available in a readily retrievable format. In relation to question b), there are no search parameters on our custody database that would allow such a search to take place. The data is embedded in each individual’s record and in order to identify this information we would have to interrogate every arrest record in question a) (23,360 offences) to check if that individual was currently released under investigation. Please note that researching each individual case 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, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide the information requested for question a). Please find this attached (1618_ATTACHMENT). 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.
In addition to the attached response, West Midlands Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to this request as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply by virtue of the following exemptions:
Section 23(5) – Information supplied by, or concerning, certain Security Bodies
Section 24(2) – National security
Section 31(3) – Law enforcement
These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:
Section 23 is a class based absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest.
Sections 24 and 31 are prejudice based, qualified exemptions and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or not that the information is held, as well as carrying out a public interest test (PIT). Please find this PIT attached (1618_PIT).