We received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):
I am seeking up-to-date information about the proportion of police detentions/interviews of suspects and voluntary interviews in which an appropriate adult was provided and for whom legal advice was requested and obtained as recorded by officers for both adults and juveniles.
I would be grateful if you could provide the following data for your force area, for each year for the years ending 9 March 2021, 2022 and 2023:
In relation to everyone (adults and juveniles), please could you indicate the total number of (1) authorised detentions (2) interviews under arrest and (3) voluntary Interviews.
Then for these (a) a pre-interview Risk Assessment was conducted, (b) an appropriate adult was provided, (c) legal advice was requested and (d) legal advice was provided.
Then for juveniles only and their (1) authorised detentions (2) interviews under arrest and (3) voluntary interviews, the number where (a) an appropriate adult was provided, (b) legal advice was requested and (c) legal advice was provided.
If this data is not held (or cannot be compiled within the cost limits) for the requested period, please provide any relevant data for the most recent possible period.
If this data is not held (or cannot be compiled within the cost limits) for any period, I would be grateful for any information by way of explanation (e.g. no records of voluntary interviews are held; the requirement for an appropriate adult is not systematically stored in custody information systems).
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.
In order to determine if legal advice was requested (and provided) would require a manual read-through of each custody record and voluntary attendance record within the stated period. Between 10/03/2022 and 09/03/2023 there are 57,060 records which would require review. At 2 minutes per record, this would take over 1,900 hours for just one years’ worth of 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 number of arrests (authorised detentions) and voluntary attendances in the period, along with the number where an appropriate adult was requested. However, we cannot say how many attended without manually reviewing records.
We can break the information down to adult and young people.
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.