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Riots may be controlled with chemicals

Future riots could be quelled by projectiles containing chemical irritants fired by police using new weapons that are now in the final stages of development.

The Discriminating Irritant Projectile (Dip) has been under development by the Home Office’s centre for applied science and technology (Cast) as a potential replacement for plastic bullets.

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that last summer’s riots in England provided a major impetus to Home Office research into new-generation riot control technology, ranging from the Dip to even more curious weaponry described by Cast technicians as “skunk oil”.

Other parts of the briefing, released under the Freedom of Information Act, refer to a need in the short term by police to develop “counter laser dazzle” technology to protect officers from being dazzled by people using lasers like those used in recent Greek riots.

Read more here.

Ben Quinn | The Guardian |9th April 2012

9,000 hidden victims of war: Shock rise in mental health trauma in troops returning from Afghanistan

THEY are the wounds that cannot be seen – but they can be just as devastating and often harder to treat.

And the problem of British troops mentally scarred by their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq is getting dramatically worse.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws reveal that 9,064 soldiers and officers had some type of mental disorder between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2010.

They included those suffering anxiety and mood swings – as well as 509 confirmed cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read more here.

The Mirror | 9th April 2012

Out of 120 police officers found guilty of racism… just one is sacked

In the decade since the damning Macpherson Report, 120 Metropolitan Police officers have been found guilty of racist behaviour, but just one has been dismissed, figures  reveal.

Despite the nature of the offences, only 12 officers received  written warnings and 21 received disciplinary sanctions, statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.

Of the 21, eight had to pay a fine, six were forced to resign and there was the solitary dismissal.

Read more here.

Chris Greenwood | The Daily Mail | 6th April 2012

Free schools ‘wasting millions of pounds’, NUT claims  

The National Union of Teachers said new primaries and secondaries were being established in towns with thousands of empty desks – often at schools highly-ranked by official inspectors.

It claimed that the reforms – allowing parents, charities and faith groups to open state institutions funded directly from Whitehall – was having a “negative impact on existing good or outstanding local schools”.

According to activists, ministers have turned a request made under Freedom of Information legislation to release full impact assessments on the existing 24 schools.

Read more here.

Graeme Paton | The Telegraph | 8th April 2012           

New publication call for NHS risks     

The Government has faced new calls to release the risk register on its controversial new health laws after the Information Tribunal outlined its full reasons to back disclosure.

The tribunal said earlier it believed the public interest warranted disclosure of the document, outlining possible risks caused by the Health and Social Care Act, which was passed into law last month.

In a statement of reasons, the tribunal has highlighted the fact that the proposals “hardly changed” following extensive consultations on the health white paper. It said the timing of the freedom of information (FoI) request – and refusal by the Department of Health – came at a moment of “exceptional” public interest in the issue.

Read more here.

The Press Association | 6th April 2012

Former senior Bush official on torture: ‘I think what they did was wrong’   

A senior Bush administration official and former head of the 9/11 Commission has described CIA interrogation techniques used on alleged terrorists as torture and said he warned in a secret memo at the height of the “war on terror” that they breached the US’s own war crimes laws.

Philip Zelikow, who was the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s most senior official, told the Guardian that he now regards what officials euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation”, such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding, as torture – although he did not use that word at the time and is reluctant to use it now.

A draft version of the memo, found at the state department, was released this week following a freedom of information request by the National Security Archive in Washington.

Read more here.

Chris McGreal | The Guardian | 5th April 2012

42 Cardiff City fixtures designated ‘bubble’ games in past decade     

A civil liberties group has called for an end to so-called “bubble” policing of football games after Wales’ top two sides played more than 40 high-security fixtures in a decade.

Cardiff City fans were subjected to rigorous police restrictions – described as “kettling on wheels” by campaigners Manifesto Club – on more than 30 away-days in 10 seasons.

Freedom of Information Act requests made to police forces in England and Wales reveal the measures were used for at least 48 Football League matches in the last decade – 42 of which involved Cardiff.

Read more here.

Ciaran Jones | Wales Online | 7th April 2012

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