Evidence from digital devices belonging to complainants of rape

Ella Hill made this Freedom of Information request to Northumbria Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Northumbria Police.

Dear Northumbria Police,

I am writing to request information regarding your force’s process for the collection and analysis of digital information from devices belonging to complainants of sexual offences, specifically rape.

I am asking for the following information:

- In cases of alleged rape over the past 12 months years, how many times has your police force collected the complainant’s mobile phone and associated digital evidence with the intention to examine its data for the case?

- At the present time, how many mobile phones belonging to complainants of rape are your police force analysing, or in the process of analysing?

- When analysing a device, which specific social media platforms, apps, or communications are analysed?

- Do you have a policy for determining what data and social media apps to analyse?

- Do members of your police force receive specialised training for analysing mobile phone and digital communications data?
If yes:

i) Please describe/explain the content of the training

ii) Is the training provided by a third party organisation?

- Does you force work with any third party companies to analyse mobile phones and associated digital communications data?

If yes:
i) What are the names of those companies?

ii) What hardware and software do those companies use to analyse mobile phones and associated digital communications data?

Yours faithfully,

Ella Hill

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

 

Thank you for your email received today in which you make a request for
information that Northumbria Police may hold in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

We are in the process of dealing with your request and a response should
be provided to you by 16 December 2019 which is in accordance with the
legislation.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Management Unit

[1]www.northumbria.police.uk | [2]www.northumbria-pcc.gov.uk

'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'

 

NORTHUMBRIA POLICE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE The information
contained in this message and any attachment(s) is confidential and
intended only for the attention of the named organisation or individual to
whom it is addressed. The message may contain information that is covered
by legal, professional or other privilege. No mistake in transmission is
intended to waive or compromise any such privilege. This message has been
sent over public networks and the sender cannot be held responsible for
its integrity. If you are not the intended recipient be aware that any
disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken in reliance of the
information contained herein is strictly prohibited, and is contrary to
the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 and of the
Data Protection Act, 2018. Any views expressed are those of the sender
and, unless specifically stated, do not necessarily represent the view of
Northumbria Police. We cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage
sustained as a result of software viruses. It is your responsibility to
carry out such virus checking as is necessary. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender by e-mail at once and delete
the message immediately. For more information about Northumbria Police
please visit our website - http://www.northumbria.police.uk

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

1 Attachment

Dear Ella

 

Please accept this email as notice that the force requires a further 20
working days to consider your request.  Northumbria Police is reviewing
the public interest considerations around confirming or denying whether
information is held (ie, complying with S1(1)(a)) in respect of
S31(1)(a)(b).

 

I can now advise you that the new date for the provision of a response is
16 January 2020.  I can assure that every effort will be made to ensure
that a response will be provided to you within this new timescale.

 

Your attention is drawn to the attached which contains your complaint
rights.

 

Kind regards

 

FOI Team

[1]www.northumbria.police.uk

'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'

 

NORTHUMBRIA POLICE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE The information
contained in this message and any attachment(s) is confidential and
intended only for the attention of the named organisation or individual to
whom it is addressed. The message may contain information that is covered
by legal, professional or other privilege. No mistake in transmission is
intended to waive or compromise any such privilege. This message has been
sent over public networks and the sender cannot be held responsible for
its integrity. If you are not the intended recipient be aware that any
disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken in reliance of the
information contained herein is strictly prohibited, and is contrary to
the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 and of the
Data Protection Act, 2018. Any views expressed are those of the sender
and, unless specifically stated, do not necessarily represent the view of
Northumbria Police. We cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage
sustained as a result of software viruses. It is your responsibility to
carry out such virus checking as is necessary. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender by e-mail at once and delete
the message immediately. For more information about Northumbria Police
please visit our website - http://www.northumbria.police.uk

References

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

1 Attachment

 

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

 

Thank you for your email dated 15 November 2019 in which you made a
request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria
Police.

 

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of
access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority
(including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

 

You asked:

 

I am writing to request information regarding your force’s process for the
collection and analysis of digital information from devices belonging to
complainants of sexual offences, specifically rape.

 

I am asking for the following information:

 

1.     In cases of alleged rape over the past 12 months years, how many
times has your police force collected the complainant’s mobile phone and
associated digital evidence with the intention to examine its data for the
case?

 

2.     At the present time, how many mobile phones belonging to
complainants of rape are your police force analysing, or in the process of
analysing?

 

3.     When analysing a device, which specific social media platforms,
apps, or communications are analysed?

 

4.     Do you have a policy for determining what data and social media
apps to analyse?

 

5.     Do members of your police force receive specialised training for
analysing mobile phone and digital communications data? If yes:

a.     Please describe/explain the content of the training

b.     Is the training provided by a third party organisation?

 

6.     Does you force work with any third party companies to analyse
mobile phones and associated digital communications data? If yes:

a.     What are the names of those companies?

b.     What hardware and software do those companies use to analyse mobile
phones and associated digital communications data?

 

 

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I
provide a response for your attention.

 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Crime
Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you
have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be
disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested at points 1 and 2 attracts Section 12
exemption.  I have outlined the reason for this as follows.

The information is not held centrally nor is it held in a format that
allows its retrieval within the specified 18 hour threshold. Officers can
use any of the 13  Force Digital Evidence Suites to evidentially examine
devices for evidence of a number of crimes.  To establish a response to
your request would require all rape cases to be manually reviewed to
establish how many had been through this process.  As we investigate
approximately 2000 rape allegations per year this exercise cannot be
achieved within 18 hours.  Likewise at point 2, all OICs would need to be
contacted to establish how many mobile phones belonging to complainants of
rape Northumbria Police are  analysing, or in the process of analysing.
Again this in its own right has been estimated to far exceed the permitted
18 hours. As we have estimated that to extract this information would far
exceed 18 hours, Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act would
apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours,
equating to £450.00

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the
Act for your request.

When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of
the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it
is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the
cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no
reasonable way in which we can do so.

Additionally I have to advise that had Section 12 not been fully
applicable, other exemptions would have been considered and applied where
relevant, namely s31(1)(a)(b) Law Enforcement.  

 

 

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a
specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an
indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.
Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the
procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses
between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative
purposes.

 

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual
property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be
strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as
amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not
re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

 

You may be interested to know that Northumbria Police routinely publish
information via the Disclosure Log. The aim of the Disclosure Log is to
promote openness and transparency by voluntarily placing information into
the public arena.

 

The Disclosure Log contains copies of some of the information that has
been disclosed by Northumbria Police in response to requests made under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Whilst it is not possible to publish all responses we will endeavour to
publish those where we feel that the information disclosed is in the wider
public interest.

 

The Disclosure Log will be updated once responses have been sent to the
requester.

 

I have provided the relevant link below.

 

[1]https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...

 

How to complain

 

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have
handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue
informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our
complaints procedure, attached.

 

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and
reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain
whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Michael Cleugh

Data Protection and Disclosure Advisor

 

[NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]

 

'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'

 

 

NORTHUMBRIA POLICE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE The information
contained in this message and any attachment(s) is confidential and
intended only for the attention of the named organisation or individual to
whom it is addressed. The message may contain information that is covered
by legal, professional or other privilege. No mistake in transmission is
intended to waive or compromise any such privilege. This message has been
sent over public networks and the sender cannot be held responsible for
its integrity. If you are not the intended recipient be aware that any
disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken in reliance of the
information contained herein is strictly prohibited, and is contrary to
the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 and of the
Data Protection Act, 2018. Any views expressed are those of the sender
and, unless specifically stated, do not necessarily represent the view of
Northumbria Police. We cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage
sustained as a result of software viruses. It is your responsibility to
carry out such virus checking as is necessary. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender by e-mail at once and delete
the message immediately. For more information about Northumbria Police
please visit our website - http://www.northumbria.police.uk

References

Visible links
1. https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/about...