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 your request to differentiate between alleged reports and confirmed cases, from our current systems. Essex Police systems are designed primarily for the management of individual cases and not primarily for the production of statistical information for FOI responses. Essex Police do not routinely record in a specific field whether a report is alleged or not, similarly if the case moving forward during the investigation process is easily identified in a specific data field as a confirmed or not confirmed case, in a format which is able to be searched. To establish if information is held would mean a manual review of each assault record held to determine those aspects of each case to meet this request. This 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:
Caveat: The data is correct as at 05/11/2021.
In respect of Injection Spiking, the following applies:
A data search has been conducted to search for all reports with an initial MO containing any of the following words within the text ‘DATE RAPE’ AND ‘NEEDLE’ OR ‘DATE RAPE’ AND ‘INJECT’ OR ‘SPIKE’ AND ‘NEEDLE’ OR ‘SPIKE’ AND ‘INJECT’ and this yielded:
One live investigation in 2021
In respect of Drink Spiking, the following applies:
29/10 to 31/10
In respect of the above data, the results have been provided as a result of keyword search, please note, any keyword search may not be entirely accurate as results are based on the terminology used within the investigation report therefore any results will include the possibility of inaccurate and misleading data.
Every effort is made to ensure that the data provided by Essex Police is accurate and complete. However, Essex Police systems are designed primarily for the management of individual cases and not for the purposes of providing data to answer specific FOI enquiries. Please note although data can be extracted from a number of sources via database queries, the results may be subject to inaccuracies. Care should be taken to understand our return when considering the interpretation or further use of the data.