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The number of offences which features one of the below listed apps or sites within the classification method field (0100.2019-20)

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Request:

For each of the last three full calendar years (2016, 2017, 2018), the number of offences which features one of the below listed apps or sites within the classification method field:

  • Facebook OR Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter
  • Tinder
  • Grindr
  • Yubo OR Yellow
  • Hinge
  • Whatsapp
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • Reddit
  • Kik

 

Further broken down by:

Sheet 1: MAJOR / MINOR OFFENCE – The offence section and group

Sheet 2: GENDER OF SUSPECT – the gender of the suspect, usually Female, Male or Unknown/unrecorded

Sheet 3: GENDER OF VICTIM – as above

Sheet 4: AGE GROUP – the age or age group of the suspect and victim: 0-17, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+, Unknown

Sheet 5: OUTCOME – the expanded outcomes list introduced by the Home Office to most forces in April 2014 (e.g. number of charges or conviction)

If it is not possible to release all of the data due to cost limitations, please explain why and release some – rather than none – of the information.

If it is not possible to release some of the data due to a terrorism classification please redact or remove these entries as necessary rather than withholding the entire dataset.

 

Response:

Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within North Yorkshire Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by North Yorkshire Police.

 

Decision

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you.

 

1. The total number of crimes recorded by North Yorkshire Police between 01 January 2016 and 31 December 2018 where the social networking sites referred to above are listed in the MO remarks.

Total number of crimes recorded by North Yorkshire Police where social media is identified in the MO remarks

 (01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018)

Offence 2016 2017 2018
Arson & Criminal Damage 1 2 7
Criminal Damage To A Dwelling 0 2 2
Criminal Damage To A Vehicle 1 0 4
Other Criminal Damage 0 0 1
Burglary 4 1 0
Burglary In A Dwelling 4 1 0
Drug Offences 0 1 1
Trafficking In Controlled Drugs 0 1 1
Fraud 15 6 19
Nfib Fraud (for Recording Purposes Only) 15 6 19
Misc Crimes Against Society 68 97 74
Handling Stolen Goods 4 0 0
Obscene Publications Etc 63 92 68
Other Notifiable Offences 0 1 0
Perverting The Course Of Justice 1 3 4
Profiting From Or Concealing Knowledge Of The Proceeds Of Crime 0 1 0
Threat Or Possession With Intent To Commit Criminal Damage 0 0 2
Possession Of Weapons 0 0 3
Possession Of Firearms No Intent 0 0 1
Possession Of Firearms With Intent 0 0 2
Public Order Offences 14 11 17
Other Offences Against The State Or Public Order 10 6 7
Public Fear, Alarm Or Distress 4 2 8
Racially Or Religiously Aggravated Public Fear, Alarm Or Distress 0 3 2
Sexual Offences 67 97 103
Abuse Of Children Through Sexual Exploitation 1 1 6
Exposure And Voyeurism 0 0 2
Rape Of A Female Aged 16 And Over 1 1 4
Rape Of A Female Child Under 16 0 1 1
Rape Of A Male Aged 16 And Over 0 0 1
Rape Of A Male Child Under 13 0 0 1
Sexual Activity Involving A Child Under 13 19 30 32
Sexual Activity Involving Child Under 16 44 48 50
Sexual Assault On A Female Aged 13 And Over 0 4 2
Sexual Assault On A Male Aged 13 And Over 0 1 0
Sexual Grooming 2 11 4
Theft: All Other Theft 43 44 50
Blackmail 38 35 45
Other Theft 2 6 3
Theft – Making Off Without Payment 1 0 1
Theft By An Employee 1 1 1
Theft In A Dwelling Other Than From An Automatic Machine Or Meter 1 2 0
Theft: Bicycle Theft 0 0 1
Theft Or Unauthorised Taking Of A Pedal Cycle 0 0 1
Theft: Shoplifting 0 1 1
Shoplifting 0 1 1
Theft: Theft From Person 0 0 1
Theft From The Person 0 0 1
Vehicle Offences 2 0 0
Theft From Vehicle 1 0 0
Theft Or Unauthorised Taking Of A Motor Vehicle 1 0 0
Violence Against The Person 186 222 388
Assault With Injury 5 13 7
Assault With Intent To Cause Serious Harm 0 2 0
Assault Without Injury 6 9 9
Child Abduction 1 0 0
Cruelty To Children/ Young Persons 1 0 0
Harassment 164 116 129
Kidnapping 0 0 1
Malicious Communications 0 74 222
Racially Or Religiously Aggravated Assault Without Injury 0 0 2
Racially Or Religiously Aggravated Harassment 1 0 0
Stalking 3 2 15
Threats To Kill 5 6 3
Total 400 482 665

 

2. From Q1 please find below the number of crimes, broken down the by gender of the suspect.

Number of NYP incidents where social media is referred to in the MO remarks by gender of the suspect (01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018) 
Suspect Gender 2016 2017 2018
Female 15 13 9
Male 65 54 44
Total 80 67 53

 

3. From Q1 please find below the number of crimes, broken down the by gender of the victim.

Number of NYP incidents where social media is referred to in the MO remarks by gender of the victim (01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018)   
Victim Gender 2016 2017 2018
Female 236 277 404
Male 107 119 174
(blank) 3 3 10
Total 346 399 588

 

4. From Q1, please find below the age ranges of the suspects and victims of the crimes recorded.

Age ranges of the suspects and victims of crimes recorded by NYP (01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018)
Age 2016 2017 2018 Total
0-17 126 145 177 448
18-29 168 156 212 536
30-39 66 65 127 258
40-49 38 60 67 165
50-59 17 22 38 77
60+ 6 11 12 29
NULL 5 7 8 20
Total 426 466 641 1533

 

5. The table below shows the total number of crimes recorded broken down by the final outcome of the incident. Note: some of the crimes do not yet have outcomes.

 The total number of incidents recorded by NYP referring to social media

in the MO remarks by outcome of the incident

 (01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018)

Outcome 2016 2017 2018
Charged/Summonsed 48 30 9
Caution – youths 6 3 0
Caution – adults 17 16 3
Offender Died 1 0 0
Community Resolution 10 11 1
Not in public interest (Police) 75 43 15
Prosecution prevented – suspect under age 0 2 0
Evidential difficulties victim based – suspect not identified 11 15 10
Evidential difficulties prevent further action; victim supports police action 46 46 9
Evidential difficulties prevent further action; victim does not support police action 60 48 24
Prosecution time limit expired 0 1 0
Investigation complete – no suspect identified 76 60 28
Action by other agency 0 1 0
No Investigation – Not in public interest (Police) 48 67 9
Total 398 343 108

 

Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) places two duties on public authorities. Unless exemptions apply, the first duty at Section 1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information specified in a request is held. The second duty at Section 1(1)(b) is the disclose information that has been confirmed as being held. Where exemptions are relied upon Section 17 of the FOIA requires that we provide the applicant with a notice which: a) states that fact b) specifies the exemption(s) in question and c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

In addition, North Yorkshire Police can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any other information relevant to terrorism offences pertinent to this request as the duty in Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 24(2) National Security

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Sections 24 and 31 are prejudice based qualified exemptions, both evidence of harm and public interest considerations need to be articulated to the applicant.

 

Harm in Confirming or Denying that Information is held

Policing is an information-led activity, and recording of all offences, including terrorist offences, forms part of a fundamental day-to-day delivery of effective operational law enforcement.

Although purely statistical data, to confirm or deny whether any information relating to terror offences is held would reveal investigative activity enabling terrorists and other offenders to identify force areas which may be ‘safer’ to carry out their offending.

To confirm or deny whether information relating to terror offences is held would be extremely useful to those involved in terrorist activity which would ultimately undermine ongoing investigations would could lead to police officers having to be removed from their frontline duties in order to increase manpower on an investigation.

Furthermore, to confirm or deny whether other information is held has the potential to undermine the flow of information (intelligence) received from members of the public into the Police Service relating to these types of offences thereby undermining National Security and leaving the United Kingdom at risk of more terrorist attack.

 

Public Interest Considerations

 

Section 24(2) National Security

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that information is held

The public are entitled to know how public funds are spent and how resources are distributed within an area of policing. To confirm where these offences have occurred would enable the general public to hold North Yorkshire Police to account ensuring all such offences are recorded and investigated appropriately. In the current financial climate of cuts and with the call for transparency of public spending this would enable improved public debate.

 

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming or denying that information is held

Security measures are put in place to protect the community we serve. As evidenced within the harm to confirm where terror offences have occurred would highlight to terrorists, and individuals intent on carrying out criminal activity, vulnerabilities within North Yorkshire Police.

Taking into account the current security climate within the United Kingdom, no information (such as the citing of an exemption which confirms terror offences have occurred within North Yorkshire Police jurisdiction; or conversely, stating no information is held) which may aid a terrorist should be disclosed. To what extent this information may aid a terrorist is unknown, but it is clear that it will have an impact on a force’s ability to monitor terrorist activity.

Irrespective of what information is or isn’t held, the public entrust the Police Service to make appropriate decisions with regard to their safety and protection and the only way of reducing risk is to be cautious with what is placed into the public domain.

The cumulative effect of terrorists gathering information from various sources would be even more impactive when linked to other information gathered from various sources about terrorism. The more information disclosed over time will give a more detailed account of the tactical infrastructure of not only a force area but also the country as a whole.

Any incident that results from such a disclosure would, by default, affect National Security.

 

Section 31(3) Law Enforcement

Factors favouring complying with Section 1(1)(a) confirming that any other information is held

Confirming that any other information exists relating to terror offences would lead to a better informed public which may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to reduce offences.

 

Factors against complying with Section 1(1)(a) neither confirm nor denying that any other information is held

Confirmation or denial that information relating to terror offences is held in this case would suggest North Yorkshire Police take their responsibility to protect information dismissively and inappropriately.

North Yorkshire Police has a duty of care to the community at large and public safety is of paramount importance. If an FOI disclosure revealed information to the world that would undermine the security of the national infrastructure, offenders, including terrorist organisations, could use this to their advantage which would compromise public safety and more worryingly encourage offenders to carry out further crimes.

By its very nature, information relating to whether or not terror offences have occurred within a specific force area undoubtedly undermines the effective delivery of operational law enforcement. Under FOI there is a requirement to comply with Section 1(1)(a) and confirm what information is held. In some cases it is that confirmation, or not, which could disclose facts harmful to members of the public, police officers, other law enforcement agencies and their employees.

 

Balancing Test

The points above highlight the merits of confirming or denying whether terror offences have occurred in your force area which are linked to social media. The Police Service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the communities we serve. As part of that policing purpose, information is gathered which can be highly sensitive relating to high profile investigative activity.

Weakening the mechanisms used to monitor any type of criminal activity, and specifically terrorist activity would place the security of the country at an increased level of danger.

In addition anything that places that confidence at risk, no matter how generic, would undermine any trust or confidence individuals have in the Police Service. Therefore, at this moment in time, it is our opinion that for these issues the balance test favours neither confirming nor denying that information is held.

 

Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.

Last modified: November 15, 2019