Forensic Archaeology and Undetected Homicide Cases

Charlotte Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Essex Police

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Essex Police,

I am a MSc student studying Forensic Science and Criminal Justice with the University of Leicester. I am currently completing my dissertation which seeks to look at the impact Forensic Archaeology has on unsolved homicide cases within the UK. I would be grateful if the following questions could be answered as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Definition of terms for clarity:

Homicide – The unlawful killing of a person, to include murder and all categories of manslaughter.
Detected homicide case – a solved homicide case whereby a person(s) has been charged or has died prior to charges being brought.
Undetected homicide case – a currently unsolved homicide case.
Undetected homicide case review – the review of all evidence in relation to an undetected homicide case.

Freedom of Information Questions:

Q1. How many reported undetected homicide cases are there within your jurisdiction currently?
Q2. Do you currently have a team solely responsible for the review of undetected homicides?
Q3. What is the current standard undetected homicide case review frequency within your jurisdiction?
Q4. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were reviewed within your jurisdiction?
Q5. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected within your jurisdiction?
Q6. Does your jurisdiction currently have a Forensic Archaeologist to be called upon as required?
Q7. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide case reviews utilised Forensic Archaeology?
Q8. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide cases were detected as a result of Forensic Archaeology?
I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions. Should you require me to refine or clarify any part of my request, please do not hesitate to contact me under your section 16 duty.

Kindest regards

Charlotte Jones
BHSPT, Nat.Cert.Sci, BSc(hons)

Info Rights Freedom Essex, Essex Police

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference. 

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply within 20
working days.  The Act does not specify a limit to the number of
information requests a public authority may receive or the number of
requests or questions an applicant may submit.  However, there are
exemptions in the Act that can apply and these include where the cost of
complying with the request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit,
(currently 18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature. 

 

Requests that ask a great many questions, or a number of detailed requests
submitted at the same time, may make it necessary for Essex Police to
refuse the requests wholly or in part.  The exemption at Section 14 may be
engaged if the burden on the authority is increased through multiple
requests on differing subjects.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for
providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they have
produced advice for applicants on submitting effective requests.  Further
information can be found on the Commissioner’s website at www.ico.gov.uk
specific information relating to submitting a request can be found at:
https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

While we process your request, please take the time to consider the ICO’s
advice and whether you feel it may be beneficial to amend or refine your
request. Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be available
from Essex Police.

 

Please ensure all future enquiries are sent to the
[email address] mail box.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Information Management Department | Information Rights Section | Essex
Police

Telephone: 01245 452647 | Email: [1][email address]

Address: Information Management Department, Information Rights Section,
Essex Police HQ, PO Box 2, Chelmsford CM2 6DA  (for Sat Nav directions,
use CM2 6DN for HQ)

[2]cid:image001.png@01D4EA0F.18BBB1F0

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests: 
[3]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to:  [4]info.rights.freedom@essex. police.uk

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

 

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner.  Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police.

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [5]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Info Rights Freedom Essex, Essex Police

1 Attachment

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

 

In relation to question 1, could you kindly confirm the time frame
requirements to enable us to answer this question i.e. 2011 to 2014.

 

Please note that we have stopped the response time in respect of this
request, whilst matters are outstanding.  If you do still require
information and respond with clarification we will restart our response
time accordingly.  If we do not receive any further advices within the
next 14 days then we will close this FOI entry and a new submission will
need to be made.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Information Management Department | Information Rights Section | Essex
Police

Telephone: 01245 452647 | Email: [1][email address]

Address: Information Management Department, Information Rights Section,
Essex Police HQ, PO Box 2, Chelmsford CM2 6DA  (for Sat Nav directions,
use CM2 6DN for HQ)

[2]cid:image001.png@01D4EA0F.18BBB1F0

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests: 
[3]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to:  [4]info.rights.freedom@essex. police.uk

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

 

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner.  Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police.

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [5]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

From: Info Rights Freedom Essex
Sent: 10 September 2019 08:20
To: 'Charlotte Jones' <[FOI #602484 email]>
Subject: RE: FOI 13612 Detected and Undetected Homicide Cases

 

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply within 20
working days. The Act does not specify a limit to the number of
information requests a public authority may receive or the number of
requests or questions an applicant may submit. However, there are
exemptions in the Act that can apply and these include where the cost of
complying with the request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit,
(currently 18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature.

 

Requests that ask a great many questions, or a number of detailed requests
submitted at the same time, may make it necessary for Essex Police to
refuse the requests wholly or in part. The exemption at Section 14 may be
engaged if the burden on the authority is increased through multiple
requests on differing subjects.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for
providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they have
produced advice for applicants on submitting effective requests. Further
information can be found on the Commissioner’s website at
[6]www.ico.gov.uk specific information relating to submitting a request
can be found at:
[7]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

While we process your request, please take the time to consider the ICO’s
advice and whether you feel it may be beneficial to amend or refine your
request. Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be available
from Essex Police.

 

Please ensure all future enquiries are sent to the
[8][email address] mail box.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Information Management Department | Information Rights Section | Essex
Police

Telephone: 01245 452647 | Email: [9][email address]

Address: Information Management Department, Information Rights Section,
Essex Police HQ, PO Box 2, Chelmsford CM2 6DA (for Sat Nav directions, use
CM2 6DN for HQ)

[10]cid:image001.png@01D4EA0F.18BBB1F0

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests:
[11]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to: [12]info.rights.freedom@essex. police.uk

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

 

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner. Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police.

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [13]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Info Rights Freedom Essex,

Regarding Q1, I would like to know the total number of unsolved homicide cases you have recorded on your system to date if possible please.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte Jones

Info Rights Freedom Essex, Essex Police

2 Attachments

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

 

Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties
on public authorities. Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at Section
1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information specified in a
request is held. The second duty at Section 1(1)(b) is to disclose
information that has been confirmed as being held. Where exemptions are
relied upon Section 17 of the FOIA requires that we provide the applicant
with a notice which: a) states that fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in
question and c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the
exemption applies.

 

In respect of your enquiry:

 

Q1. How many reported undetected homicide cases are there within your
jurisdiction currently?

Q2. Do you currently have a team solely responsible for the review of
undetected homicides?

Q3. What is the current standard undetected homicide case review frequency
within your jurisdiction?

Q4. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
cases were reviewed within your jurisdiction?

Q5. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
cases were detected within your jurisdiction?

Q6. Does your jurisdiction currently have a Forensic Archaeologist to be
called upon as required?

Q7. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
case reviews utilised Forensic Archaeology?

Q8. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
cases were detected as a result of Forensic Archaeology?

 

Having completed enquiries within Essex Police in respect of Section
1(1)(a), Essex Police does hold information relating to your request,
however, the obligation of Section 1(1)(b) cannot be met as Essex Police
does not hold all the information requested in a format that allows it to
be retrieved within the time and cost limits of FOI.

 

When responding to a request for information under the terms of the FOIA,
a public authority is not obliged to provide information if the authority
estimates that the cost of the retrieval of the information requested
would be in excess of £450 (equivalent to 18 hours work). The costs
criteria relates to a request in its entirety, which means that if we
cannot retrieve all of the information requested within the costs limit,
we are not obliged to retrieve any of the information requested.

 

Section 12(1) of the FOIA states that a public authority is not obliged
to:

 

“…comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that
the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate
limit.”

 

The following explanation outlines the difficulty Essex Police has in
answering your request:

 

Essex Police are unable to accurately extract the level of detail in
relation to Q7 & Q8. Essex Police systems are designed primarily for the
management of individual cases and not primarily for the production of
statistical information. This request would entail a manual review each
undetected homicide case and read through case notes to establish whether
an undetected homicide case review utilised Forensic Archaeology and how
many were detected using Forensic Archaeology. To establish if information
is held would, therefore, exceed the time and cost limits under the FOIA
and would qualify as the creation of data as the results cannot be
processed by means of purely sorting or filtering data sources or running
a database query tool. There is no requirement under the act to create
data purely to answer FOI requests.

 

Consequently, and to this extent, Essex Police are exempt from the duty to
provide information you have requested under the provisions of Section
12(1) of the FOIA. Therefore, and in accordance with Section 17(1) of the
FOIA, this communication must act as a refusal notice to provide all of
the information that could be interpreted as being captured by this part
of your request.

 

Having said that, and in an effort to assist, although excess cost removes
the force’s obligations under the FOIA, Essex Police can confirm the
following:

 

Q1. How many reported undetected homicide cases are there within your
jurisdiction currently?

2008 – 2

2009 – 1

2010 – 2

2011 – 1

2012 – 6

2013 – 2

2014 – 1

2015 – 4

2016 – 4

2017 – 4

2018 – 3

 

Q2. Do you currently have a team solely responsible for the review of
undetected homicides? – Yes

 

Q3. What is the current standard undetected homicide case review frequency
within your jurisdiction? – Generally 2, 5 or 10 years depending on the
circumstances and more frequently if new information comes to light.

 

Q4. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
cases were reviewed within your jurisdiction?

2011 – 6

2012 – 3

2013 – 2

2014 – 2

 

Q5. During the years 2011 – 2014 (inclusive), how many undetected homicide
cases were detected within your jurisdiction?

Undetected homicide case is – a currently unsolved homicide case.

Detected homicide case is – a solved homicide case whereby a person(s) has
been charged or has died prior to charges being brought.

 

Based on the above definitions, the answer to Q5 will be 0 as these are
undetected homicides cases (a currently unsolved homicide case).

 

Q6. Does your jurisdiction currently have a Forensic Archaeologist to be
called upon as required? – Yes.

 

Every effort is made to ensure that figures provided are accurate and
complete, however, Essex Police systems are designed primarily for the
management of individual cases and not primarily for the production of
statistical information. Please note although data can be extracted from a
number of sources via database queries the results are subject to
inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system and could also
be inaccurate as a result of free text entry fields. Care should be taken
to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are
taken into account when interpreting data.

To assist further, the following link may be of interest.

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics...

Essex Police trusts that the information provided is of assistance. Thank
you for your interest in Essex Police.

 

Kind regards, 

 

Information Rights Team

Information Management Department

Information Rights Section

E-Mail: [2][Essex Police request email]

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D3E908.EC4D1080

 

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests
[4]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to:  [5][Essex Police request email]

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

           

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner. Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [6]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

From: Info Rights Freedom Essex
Sent: 10 September 2019 08:20
To: 'Charlotte Jones' <[7][FOI #602484 email]>
Subject: RE: FOI 13612 Detected and Undetected Homicide Cases

 

Thank you for your enquiry which has been logged under the above
reference.

 

Under the Freedom of Information Act we are required to reply within 20
working days. The Act does not specify a limit to the number of
information requests a public authority may receive or the number of
requests or questions an applicant may submit. However, there are
exemptions in the Act that can apply and these include where the cost of
complying with the request would extend beyond the reasonable cost limit,
(currently 18 hours or £450), or if the request is otherwise manifestly
unreasonable in its scope or nature.

 

Requests that ask a great many questions, or a number of detailed requests
submitted at the same time, may make it necessary for Essex Police to
refuse the requests wholly or in part. The exemption at Section 14 may be
engaged if the burden on the authority is increased through multiple
requests on differing subjects.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responsibility for
providing oversight and guidance for the legislation and they have
produced advice for applicants on submitting effective requests. Further
information can be found on the Commissioner’s website at
[8]www.ico.gov.uk specific information relating to submitting a request
can be found at:
[9]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

 

While we process your request, please take the time to consider the ICO’s
advice and whether you feel it may be beneficial to amend or refine your
request. Our team is happy to discuss your request with you and will be
able to provide advice as to what kind of information will be available
from Essex Police.

 

Please ensure all future enquiries are sent to the
[10][Essex Police request email] mail box.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Information Management Department | Information Rights Section | Essex
Police

Telephone: 01245 452647 | Email: [11][Essex Police request email]

Address: Information Management Department, Information Rights Section,
Essex Police HQ, PO Box 2, Chelmsford CM2 6DA (for Sat Nav directions, use
CM2 6DN for HQ)

[12]cid:image001.png@01D4EA0F.18BBB1F0

Please note, if you require further information or wish to resubmit a
request please refer to the information found on the Commissioner’s
website regarding submission of effective requests:
[13]https://www.ico.org.uk/for_the_public/of...

 

Your right to complain

 

If you feel your request has not been properly handled, or you are
otherwise dissatisfied with the outcome of your request you have the right
to complain.

 

Complaints should be submitted within 20 working days from the date of
this response and should be addressed to the Senior Information Officer at
the above address or by email to: [14]info.rights.freedom@essex. police.uk

 

We will conduct a review to investigate your complaint and endeavour to
reply within 20 working days.

 

Please explain which aspect of the reply you are not satisfied with, and
if your complaint concerns the decision to apply an exemption it would
assist the review if you would outline why you believe the exemption does
not apply.

 

If you are still dissatisfied following our review, you have the right
under Section 50 of the Act to complain directly to the Information
Commissioner. Before considering your complaint, the Information
Commissioner would normally expect you to have exhausted the complaints
procedures provided by Essex Police.

 

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF or via [15]https://ico.org.uk/

 

 

 

show quoted sections