Calendar, Year, Reported, Van, Thefts, Form, Entry, Keyless, Modus, Operandi, Codes, Extracted, Crime, System, Motor, Vehicle, Type.
FOI Reference Number
Van Thefts & Form of Entry
2016 to 2021
I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information:
The number of reported van thefts from 1st August 2016 – 31st July 2021, with the data broken down year by year.
The number of thefts broken down into the form of entry, e.g. keyless theft.
Disclosure with Exemptions
Part Disclosure with Section 12(1) and Section 17(1) Exemptions
Information Correct as at
20 October 2021
Date of Disclosure
01 November 2021
FOI 16200 Response
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 the form/method of entry used for the requested period 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. The Modus Operandi (MO) Codes are not reliably used. This request would entail manually extracting the requested data and then reviewing each of the 1486 investigations one by one to establish if the information is held. 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:
The data is correct as at 20 October 2021.
Data extracted from the Athena Crime system showing all Theft of a Motor Vehicle Offences with a created date between 01 August 2016 and 31 July 2021 and where the Vehicle Type has been recorded as "Van".
The number of reported Van thefts from 01 August 2016 – 31 July 2021, with the data broken down year by year.
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.