We received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):
1. How many incidents are reported to your force of parcels from the online retailer Amazon having been stolen or tampered with (i.e all reports of packages that have gone missing or items that have been stolen from within a parcel)? Please provide monthly figures dating back 12 full months (June 2022 – June 2023)
2. If information about Amazon specifically is not retrievable, how many incidents are reported to your force of parcels or deliveries having been stolen or tampered with? Please provide monthly figures dating back 12 full months (June 2022 – June 2023)
3. What is the average amount of time handling initial reports of these alleged crimes (i.e the average time taken by case officers logging the crime, either over the phone or on live chat)? If this information isn’t available, please provide the average time for a case officer to log crimes via a phone call or live chat. If these average times are recorded on a month to month basis, please provide the monthly figures.
4. How many of these reported crimes are followed up with further investigation? Again please provide monthly figures dating back one year.
5. How many of these reported crimes see no further action from the police force. Again please provide monthly figures dating back one year.
6. What is the estimated cost to your police force, based on the salaries of officers handling calls and live chat, and the average amount of time spent recording cases of stolen parcels from Amazon (or all sources if this data is not available). Again please provide monthly figures dating back one year if available. If this information is not available, please provide the average salary of the officers that handle initial reporting of crimes via phone (for example calling 101) and via live chat if you offer such a facility.
I would like you to provide this information in the following format:
A bullet pointed list, CSV or Excel document is acceptable.
Please include data for the past 12 months if available, broken down into monthly reported incidents
Unfortunately, West Yorkshire Police are unable to provide you with the information requested.
It is estimated that the cost of providing/locating the information you seek within your request, would exceed the time threshold. When a reasonable estimate has been made that the appropriate limit would be exceeded, there are no requirements for a public authority to undertake the work.
Please see Appendix A, for the full legislative explanation as to why West Yorkshire Police are unable to provide the information.
If you would like to refine or narrow the scope of your request, West Yorkshire Police will assist you in negotiating the possibility of the provisions, of the information requested. Please see the Advice and Assistance, under Section 16 of Appendix A.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 creates a statutory right of access to information held by public Authorities. A public authority in receipt of a request must, if permitted, state under Section 1(a) of the Act, whether it holds the requested information. If held then this information will be communicated to the applicant under Section 1(b) of the Act.
The right of access to information is not without exception and is subject to a number of exemptions. Which are designed to enable public authorities to withhold information that is unsuitable for release.
Importantly the Act is designed to place information into the public domain, that is, once access to information is granted to one person under the Act, it is then considered public information and must be communicated to any individual should a request be received.
This letter serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Section 17 of the Act provides:
(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with Section 1(1), given to the applicant a notice which:-
(a) States the fact,
(b) Specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) States (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The reason that we are unable to provide you with this information is covered by the following exemption(s):
Section 12 - Where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit
West Yorkshire Police can confirm that we hold the information you seek, however it is not held in an easily retrievable format.
There were 1,194 incidents recorded during the period which included ‘AMAZON’ in the log text. To determine whether these related to theft or tampering of parcels would require a manual review of each incident. At approximately 2 minutes per record, this would take over 39 hours.
If these incidents were subsequently recorded as a crime, they would be classified as 42 Theft of mail or 41 Theft by an employee (if the parcel had been stolen by an employee of the mail company). There are also non-notifiable offences which relate to tampering with mail. In addition to the below, there were 621 crimes recorded during the period which would need to be reviewed, therefore increasing the time spent locating and retrieving the requested data.
It has been estimated that the cost of providing you with this information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the 'appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004, which currently stands at £450 worth of work.
Our ACPO guidance states that we do not issue fees notices and therefore in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.
West Yorkshire Police have utilised Section 12, which states "A public authority does not have to comply with a request for information if the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit", this is further affirmed by the Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (Reference: FS50143930), and Guidance issued by the Information Commissioner's Office on Using the Fees Regulations.
ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE
Under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, my duty to provide advice and assistance to persons who have made request for information, please be advised that West Yorkshire Police can offer the following advice as to how to refine your request:
We may be able to provide the information requested in question 1 of your request within a 5-month period.
To provide the information asked for in question 2 would require a manual review of all incidents which included ‘PARCEL’ in the log text, which would also exceed the appropriate limit.
We may be able to provide the requested information in questions 4 & 5 of your request within a 10-month period.
With regard to question 3 and 6, we do not hold any information in relation to these questions as we do not record the time taken to investigate a crime or the cost to the Force.
Please note that police forces do not use generic systems or identical procedures for capturing the data. For these reasons this response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with responses you may receive from other police forces.