By Alex Montague
On the Isle of Wight it’s been largely about cocaine and ecstasy, at Glastonbury the hauls of Ketamine have been creeping up, while the drug of choice for heavy metal fans would seem to be Jack Daniels and other booze.
As a tens of thousands of young (and not so young) music fans await another festival season, new figures based on police activities at 10 major festivals over the past four years provide an insight into the range and scale of drugs seized…
Across all ten festivals – Glastonbury, V, the Isle of Wight, Bestival, Download, Sonisphere, Leeds, Reading, Womad and Wireless- there has been a sharp decline since that year in the value both of cocaine and cannabis seized, according to the figures obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests by Request Initiative, a nonprofit that makes requests for charities and NGOs.
Brazil passes information access law
A freedom of information law has taken effect in Brazil, challenging an embedded culture of secrecy and bureaucracy.
Proponents, including President Dilma Rousseff, said the measure is nothing short of a revolution for a system that has kept tight control over information for decades.
But even as the president hailed the potential of the law that went into effect Wednesday, experts cautioned that it will take more than a piece of paper and political goodwill at the top to change attitudes about the flow of information. Most citizens, even journalists, are unfamiliar with the concept of free access to public information.
Associated Press | 17th May 2012
Spanish government OKs freedom of information law
Spain’s government has given the green light to a new freedom of information law aimed at giving taxpayers a better look at how their money is spent, while punishing officials who miss budget targets.
The approval came Friday at a Cabinet meeting amid a wave of public disgust over corruption and the mismanagement of public funds in a country saddled with an economic crisis.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the bill will go to Parliament for debate after the Summer and if approved take effect in a year or so, once government Internet portals for information-sharing are set up.
Associated Press | 18th May 2012
‘Private firms should face freedom of information’
Freedom of information laws should be extended to cover private companies supplying services to the public sector, an influential committee of MPs has said, with concerns that the taxpayers must be allowed to scrutinise how their money is spent.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee complained there was “little transparency” when it came to the “financial affairs of companies which derive their income solely from government”.
“Where companies depend on public sector contracts for the bulk of their income they can expect their performance, profits and remuneration packages to be subject to proper scrutiny,” the committee said in a recent report.
PublicService.co.uk | 18th May 2012
Racism complaints against Islington police revealed as officer faces sack over vile language claims
An Islington police officer could be sacked over claims of racism as the Gazette reveals there have been dozens of similar complaints in recent years.
The Pc and a Metropolitan Police staff member are alleged to have made racist comments while on duty in the borough on March 26.
Islington police have refused to disclose details of the incident, but the Pc has been suspended and faces a gross misconduct hearing. The other staff member has resigned.
Figures obtained by the Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act reveal there were 31 other complaints of racism made against Islington officers by the public between January 1 2009 and March 31 this year.
Tom Marshall | Islington Gazette | 18th May 2012
Revealed: The £3,000 cost of council award
Scarborough Council spent more than £3,000 to send staff to a “Oscar” style awards ceremony, the Evening News can exclusively reveal.
The council forked out £3,319 for 10 members of its legal team to attend the 2012 Local Government Chronicle Awards, in London.
The shock revelation, made via an Evening News Freedom of Information request, showed the council paid £1,800 just to visit the awards.
Scarborough Evening News | 18th May 2012
Council spends £140,000 on Newport town stores schemes
More than £140,000 of public money has been spent dealing with supermarket applications in Newport in the last 12 months, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.
Telford & Wrekin Council has spent almost £112,000 on the Sainsbury’s scheme in Station Road, according to the figures released today.
More than £50,000 of that figure was spent carrying out a public consultation.
Shropshire Star | 18th May 2012