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Thousands of 999 police axed as cuts hit police frontline

The Guardian has reported that figures released under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) have revealed that there are now 5,000 less police officers dealing with emergency 999 calls since the 2010 general election.

All of England and Wales’s 43 police forces returned the above figures which undermine the coalition government’s claim that the 20% funding cuts would not compromise public safety or the fight against crime.

Labour have described the job losses among so-called “first responders” – those following up on 999 calls – as “shocking” and said they raised new questions about whether the public could trust the government.

In February 2012, prior to the emergence of these figures, David Cameron had actually claimed a percentage rise in officers in frontline duty.

Among forces that have suffered the biggest culls of 999 officers are Devon and Cornwall, which lost 540 “first responders” (25% of its total), and West Midlands, which lost 1,023 (19%).

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, whose office made the freedom of information requests, said last night: “Time and again the government has promised us the frontline will not be cut but now we see very clear proof that the very officers that need to respond to 999 calls, that need to respond to emergency incidents, are disappearing. To lose thousands of the very officers that you need in an emergency will be deeply worrying for people right across the country. People need to know that the police will be there when they need them.”

BBC spends £6.5m relocating 549 staff to Salford… and dozens receive tens of thousands of pounds each to fund move

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) have revealed, with the BBC have spending £6.5million on staff relocation to Salford, that three members of staff have received in excess of £80,000 to pay for their moves, with two getting about £85,000, reports the Daily Mail.

The FoIA request also revealed that one staff member received £70,000 and two others £67,000 and £64,000. Stamp duties, estate agent fees, and up to £3,000 a head to buy carpets and curtains, were also including in BBC payment to the relocated staff, as were instances of up to £1,900 a month (before tax) for rent in the North West.

These figures, set to rise further, do not cover the remaining 250 individuals in the first phase of moving.

US Government can’t keep up with information requests.                 

In analysing figures from over the last three years from thirty seven of the US’s largest federal departments and agencies, The Associated Press have reported that the presidency of Barack Obama have struggled to keep up to pace with soaring numbers of requests for government documents, emails, photographs and more under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Federal agencies did better in 2011 trying to fulfil the requests, but still fell further behind with backlogs, due mostly to surges in immigration records requested from the Homeland Security Department, which meant the government ended 2011 with 98,183 backlogged requests, an increase of nearly 14 percent over the backlog of 86,370 at the start of the year

The government’s responsiveness under the Freedom of Information Act is widely viewed as a barometer of how transparent federal offices are, and the Obama administration has been forces to increased the required budget by $19million.

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