Sexual Communication Offences (1180A/21)
I am writing to request data for the purpose of conducting research to support the development of knowledge, training and support tools for parents and schools on the subject of online safeguarding for children who engage with online chat platforms. Therefore, I require data on the following:
- Please provide the number of recorded offences that relate to s.15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Sexual Communication with a child, HO Crime Code 71/17 between April 2018 and April 2021. Please, where possible, provide the ages of the victims and offenders if known, break the data down by month and year.
- Please provide the method of communication with the child and the App used to communicate eg. Text, Whatsapp, Facebook, Snapchat, Omegle, Kik, Discord, Twitter, Tiktok, Twitter, other chatroom etc) for all recorded offences relating to s.15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, sexual communication with a child, HO Crime Code 71/17 between April 2018 and April 2021. Please break the data down by month and year.
- Please provide the Outcomes for all s.15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, sexual communication with a child, HO Crime Code 71/17 between April 2018 and April 2021. Please break the data down by month and year.
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. This is because we do not have a marker on our crimes system that allows us to easily identify the forms of communication used in connection with recorded offences under s.15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, sexual communication with a child. Therefore in order to determine the information for question 2, we would need to conduct a manual review of every case. Researching each individual case however 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.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:
However, in order to assist, we can provide information for the remainder of your request in relation to all offences recorded under the HO Crime Code 71/17. Please find this information attached.
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.
These data should be interpreted with caution; the figures provided 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.
This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.