Tracker/GPS Offences (628A/23)
I would like to know the number of robberies, carjackings and burglaries where the word “tracker” or “GPS” is referenced as being used in the log, in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Where a tracking device is alleged to have been placed on a vehicle/person by an offender to carry out a robbery, carjacking or burglary and not to include offences that relate to commercial tracking devices fitted by a car manufacturer/tracker company etc. or where the property owner had attached an airtag or similar to their property themselves.
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under 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 (see as follows), retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. 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.
A search of our crime system was conducted for all robbery and burglary offences recorded in 2020, 2021 and 2022 where the word ‘Tracker’ or ‘GPS’ appears in the incident summary details. This search produced 251 results. Each of these were then manually reviewed for relevancy to your request. This review shows one relevant offence in 2022 (robbery) where a tracking device was believed to have been used. It is important to note however that this search is reliant on the word(s) appearing in the summary. There may however be cases where this MO has been used by an offender, but this detail was not initially known, and therefore would not be ascertained from this search.
REASON FOR DECISION
We do not have a marker on our crime system that allows us to identify offences of the type requested. Therefore, in order to determine this information we would need to manually go into and read through the case files of every robbery and burglary offence recorded in the past three years. Such a search however would require a manual trawl of thousands of records and researching each individual case would far 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: