Forensic Archaeology and Undetected Homicide Cases

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Police Service of Northern Ireland should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Police Service of Northern Ireland,

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)

Police Service of Northern Ireland

This e-mail has been marked OFFICIAL [PUBLIC];

10th September 2019

Dear Ms Jones,

FREEDOM of INFORMATION ACT 2000

I write in connection with your request for information dated 9th
September 2019 which was received by the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI) on 9th September 2019.  I note you seek access to the
following information:

Forensic Archaeology and Undetected Homicide Cases

This request will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. A response should be sent to you within 20 working
days however I would like to advise you that PSNI are currently
experiencing a delay in the processing of requests and we aim to respond
to your request as soon as possible.

If your request is unclear and clarification is required the 20 day
legislative time limit dictated by the Freedom of Information Act 2000
will be stopped until we receive clarification of your request. The ICO
guidance at paragraph 40 of the link below sets out that the clock begins
anew the day after the clarification is received. It states

“If the requester subsequently provides enough detail to enable the
authority to identify and locate the information, then the authority must
respond to the clarified request within a new 20 working day time limit
with the ‘clock’ starting the day after it receives the required
clarification. “

The link for this is:

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

In the event where the cost of complying with the request would exceed the
“appropriate level”, which is fixed at £450, as stated in the Freedom of
Information Regulations 2004, it is the policy of the PSNI to close the
request. You will however be notified of this decision and given an
opportunity to refine and resubmit the request.

If your request requires either full or partial transference to another
public authority in order to answer your query, again, you will be
notified.

If you have any queries regarding your request please write or contact the
Corporate Information Branch on 028 9070 0164. Please remember to quote
the reference number listed above in any future communications with the
Corporate Information Branch.

If you are dissatisfied in any way with the handling of your request, you
have the right to request a review. You should do this as soon as
possible, or in any case within two months of the date of issue of this
letter. In the event that you require a review to be undertaken, you can
do so by writing to the Head of Corporate Information Branch, PSNI
Headquarters, 65 Knock Road, Belfast, BT5 6LE or by emailing
[email address]. 

If following an internal review, carried out by an independent decision
maker, you were to remain dissatisfied in any way with the handling of the
request you may make a complaint, under Section 50 of the Freedom of
Information Act, to the Information Commissioner’s Office and ask that
they investigate whether the PSNI has complied with the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act.  You can write to the Information Commissioner
at Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. In most circumstances the Information
Commissioner will not investigate a complaint unless an internal review
procedure has been carried out, however the Commissioner has the option to
investigate the matter at his discretion.

Yours sincerely,

Alison

FOI Decision Maker
Corporate Information Branch
PSNI HQ Brooklyn

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References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Dear Police Service of Northern Ireland,

Many thanks for the acknowledgement of my request. As this request is now delayed, could you please advise as to the likely timescale in which I can expect your response.

Yours faithfully,

Charlotte Jones

Police Service of Northern Ireland

This e-mail has been marked OFFICIAL [PUBLIC];

Dear Ms Jones,

Thank you for your request, which we have received on 10/09/19.

The PSNI Corporate Information Branch are currently experiencing a high volume of requests which are causing a delay in issuing responses.

We can assure you that we are endeavouring to expedite your request as quickly as possible; however, we cannot offer a specific time-scale.

Please accept our apologies for the delay. We appreciate your patience.

Kind regards
Johnny @ Corporate Information Branch

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