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Dating App Crimes 2016-2021

Date of request: April 19, 2021
Reference: 547/21

Request

The number of offence records listed in your crime database that contain the following keywords:

  • “Tinder”
  • “Grindr”
  • “Scruff”
  • “Hinge”
  • “Bumble”
  • “dating app”

Please identify these by conducting a free text search of your crime database, and provide information for each of the last five financial years to 05/04/21.

A breakdown of the kind of offences recorded that included these keywords, for each individual keyword.

An anonymised copy of free text report for each incident recorded.

Response

Please find attached a breakdown of the information we have identified in relation to questions one and two of your request.

Please be aware that the information collected for this request was identified using a key text search of the Modus Operandi (MO). Please note, key word searches are problematic as they do not in any way provide an accurate response. If the key words have not been mentioned, the data will not have been collected. Vice versa, if the key words have been mentioned in an unrelated context, irrelevant data will have been collected and provided.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary are unable to comply with question three of your request. We are not obliged to comply with Section 1(1) of the Act, on this occasion, as your request is deemed vexatious by virtue of Section 14(1). This response therefore acts as a refusal notice under the terms of Section 17(1) of the Act.

When refusing to comply with a request the authority must state that fact and also explain which exemption it is relying on and why.

Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states: Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious.

The term ‘vexatious’ is not defined in the Act, but guidance from the Information Commissioner outlines this as requests which cause an undue burden and can be viewed as either obsessive, harassing to the public authority or its staff, designed to cause disruption or annoyance or lacking any serious purpose or value.

The full document can be viewed at:

dealing-with-vexatious-requests.pdf (ico.org.uk)

In this instance, you have requested all modus operandi entries identified through a key text search recorded by the constabulary over a five year period.

The exercise of reviewing and redacting this information is onerous in its self, but essentially will result in many summaries having a very small level of detail remaining. This in effect is meaningless information that lacks any serious purpose of value, which is disproportionate considering the oppressive burden on the force.

As we believe that the vexatious criterion is met in this case, we will not be responding to this part of your request.

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