Recorded crime (FOI)
Recorded crime (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey on behalf of the States of Jersey Police and published on 19 July 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
This request supplements the request and response about “Unresolved crimes”, published on 4 July 2019 at the following link:
Unresolved crimes (FOI)
For the same period from 2008 to 2019:
How many crimes were reported to the States of Jersey Police (SOJP), or otherwise came to the notice of the SOJP, and remain “unresolved” but do not appear in the statistics provided in Report 4707 because, for whatever reason, the matter never reached the stage of being “recorded” in accordance with the Home Office Recorded Crime procedure?
Can you list what those “unrecorded” crimes were (or how they would have been classified if they had been “recorded”), applying the same categories of crime as are used for the breakdown in Tables A, B and D of Report 4707?
The National Crime Recording Standard (Page 1 of Section A)* states that: “A belief by the victim, or person reasonably assumed to be acting on behalf of the victim, that a ‘victim related’ crime has occurred is usually sufficient to justify its recording”, implying that non-reporting is the exception rather than the rule. With that in mind, can you indicate what were the motives for the SOJP's decisions not to record the criminal complaints / reports referred to in A and B?
A and B
All reported crime (report that amounts to a crime as defined by law) is recorded by the States of Jersey Police in line with the National Crime Reporting Standard and the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR).
While it is “usually sufficient” to justify the recording of a crime on the belief by the victim that a crime has indeed occurred, the Standard also states that “an incident will be recorded as a crime (notifiable offence) for ‘victim related’ offences if, on the balance of probability:
(a) the circumstances of the victim’s report amount to a crime as defined by law (the police will determine this, based on their knowledge of the law and counting rules) [emphasis added]; and
(b) there is no credible evidence to the contrary immediately available.”
Where it is determined that the recording of a crime is not justified (in accordance with (a) and (b) above), all reports and incidents are registered in an auditable non-crime record.
Internal Review Request
I request that the Central FOI Unit undertakes an Internal Review of the response, for the reasons set out below:
1. In Sections A and C of my request, I cited the Home Office Recorded Crime procedure and the National Crime Recording Standard (collectively, the “Home Office Recorded Crime procedure”), thus demonstrating that I had consulted those references, all of which are in the public domain and freely available on-line.
2. My request stated clearly that it was supplementary to the request and response about “Unsolved crimes” published on 4 July 2019. I made specific reference to the statistics in that earlier Report, asking for data to be provided in a similar manner; with annual breakdowns of crime ‘reports’ by type of crime and so on.
3. Sections A and B of my request clearly required responses in the form of statistics.
A meaningful answer to Section A would take the form of annual statistics showing the number of victims’ crime reports which, on the balance of probability (as decided solely by the States of Jersey Police (SOJP) in application of the law and HOCR), did not allege circumstances that amount to a crime.
A meaningful answer to Section B would take the form of a set of tables of statistics similar to Tables A, B and D of Report 4707, but showing data for those same crime reports that were discounted by the SOJP as lacking the required “balance of probability” for recording and investigation as crimes.
4. Although Section C of my request was less specific about providing numerical data and crime categories, it could also usefully have been answered with a table of annual statistics, derived from the “auditable non-crime record” referred to in the final sentence of the response.
5. The response to Sections A, B and C merely states regulatory facts which were already known and, for the most part, referred to in the request. No data whatsoever has been provided, nor reasons for not providing it (exemptions).
6. Taken together, the statistics expected in response to my request, when compared with those in Report 4707 (which only refers to crimes that did meet the “balance of probability” test), would have given useful insight into a number of topics of public interest, such as:
the overall scale of public crime awareness in Jersey
the willingness of the public to come forward and report (suspected) crime
the workload on SOJP caused by crime reports which, in the SOJP’s own autonomous assessment, do not merit investigation
the eventual existence of categories of crime, of informants, of victims (or indeed of criminals), that the SOJP might be pre-disposed to discounting under the heading ‘non-crimes’
I firmly believe the response of 19 July 2019 fails to meet the minimum standard required of any public authority when handling requests made under the FOI Law. Specifically, the response does not answer the questions set out in the request, nor does it state why they cannot answered if that is the case. Instead, it merely restates parts of the rules on crime reporting and crime recording which are already freely available in the public domain.
The fact that ‘reported’ but ‘unrecorded’ crimes are “registered in an auditable non-crime record” strongly suggests that those ‘non-crime’ records are in fact not audited on a regular basis and do not form part of any routine reporting by the SOJP to the relevant authorities, less still to the general public. To bring those ‘non-crime’ records into the public domain (in the form of aggregate data comparable to that in Report 4707) was the underlying purpose of my request. That legitimate purpose has been totally thwarted by whoever drafted the response.
For the reasons outlined above, I request an Internal Review into the handling of my request of 8 July 2019, in accordance with the “Freedom of Information Internal Review Procedure”.
I note from that procedure that the internal review will be issued to “someone senior to the original decision maker where this is reasonably practicable. They will not have involvement in the original decision.” As a matter of general principle, I believe that the source of FOI responses and all other communications from public officials should be made known to the person making the request. Given that the response received today is not accredited to any specific source (nor even dated), I ask that the outcome of the internal review shall identify all those involved in drafting the original response and any additional information that may be released as a consequence of the internal review.
Internal Review Response
The original response was drafted by the Head of Crime Services, the Crime Manager and the Data Protection / FOI Officer.
The Internal Review has been undertaken by the Head of Information Management, Security and Compliance.
In many instances, members of the public may allege a crime has been committed when in reality there is insufficient evidence available to record a crime. These instances are recorded in a number of databases, depending on the circumstances. For example, they may remain in an incident log, or they may be recorded as an "Occurrence Report" or a "Child Protection Notification" and so on.
During the period in the original request, over 40,000 such instances have been recorded. In order to provide a meaningful response, it would be necessary to manually research each one to establish whether a member of the public had, in their opinion, perceived that a crime had been committed, and that the police had determined that, based on the evidence available, a crime had not in fact taken place.
Estimating that approximately five minutes would be required to manually search each of the 40,000 plus records, this exceeds the time a public authority is reasonably required to dedicate to this request and the release of this information is therefore refused under Article 16 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.