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The day in FOIA: lost or stolen firearms | Kent police’s and G4S contract and the death of the FOI bill in Botswana

3,500 guns lost or taken in last five years

More than 3,500 firearms have been lost or stolen over the last five years, the Home Office has revealed.

Records released under the Freedom of Information Act show around 2,400 weapons, mainly shotguns and rifles, were stolen from their registered owners.

Most of the 1,083 weapons lost were shotguns but also included more than a dozen revolvers and even a 12-bore cannon.

Four firearms deals reported losing weapons, while seven shotguns and one rifle were stolen from traders.

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Sam Lister | The Independent | August 29th 2012

Kent Police at centre of G4S row between commissioner election candidates

Kent Police has spent £768,000 over five years on contracts with the company behind the security failings at the Olympics, it has emerged.

The force contracted G4S to provide temporary staff for various jobs between 2007 and 2011 at a cost of £767,846 – but has since stopped using the company and instead has a contract with a different recruitment company, Reed.

It is thought G4S was contracted chiefly for administrative – so-called ‘back office’ – jobs in areas such as IT and personnel.

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Paul Francis | Kent Online |  August 23rd 2012

Botswana: The Death of the FOI Bill

This instalment is actuated by the recent rejection of the Freedom of Information [FOI] Bill by Parliament. Regardless of reasons advising the rejection, Botswana has lost an opportunity to join the league of progressive democracies that value the importance of FOI Acts. Is the rejection anchored in public interest?

It is important to note that the citizens and the government have a principal-agent relationship; the former and latter being the principal and agent respectively. As it is, the agent acts on behalf of the principal and in the process, accumulates loads of vital information.

Notably, the government holds the information on behalf of the public thus, public organisations are legitimately expected to provide access to the information subject to limitations; e.g., state security. In this regard, governments have facilitated the access of information through the promulgation of FOI Acts. Sweden is the pioneer because she passed the FOI Act in 1766, followed by the US almost two hundred years later.

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Dr Emmanuel Botlhale | The Botswana Gazette | August 29th 2012

Science Fiction legend Ray Bradbury was probed by FBI during ’60s for alleged communist leanings

American lit legend Ray Bradbury was probed by the FBI during the 1960s for alleged communist leanings and sympathies, according to The Huffington Post.

The revelation comes through a review of the Fahrenheit 451 author’s FBI files, released to The  Post in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Bradbury, a 2004 National Medal of Arts Award winner, died in June

G-Men apparently surveilled the sci-fic legend’s LA home around 1968 and tracked whether he traveled to Communist Cuba during the same year to participate the Cultural Congress at the Havana Libre Hotel.
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Mike Jaccarino | Daily Mail | Agust 29th 2012

Belfast: Retired teachers get exam work ahead of jobless
Hundreds of jobless teachers were overlooked for work marking exam papers this summer in favour of retired staff.

Retired teachers were drafted in to fill 364 A-Level and GCSE examiner roles — despite 1,175 teachers being on the dole across Northern Ireland.

The body responsible for exams, CCEA, said it engaged the “most appropriately qualified staff”
The statistics were released to this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Adrian Rutherford | Belfast Telegraph | August 29th 2012

Criminal past of taxi drivers in Hertsmere revealed

Causing death by dangerous driving, drink driving and sexual assault are some of the criminal convictions held by taxi drivers operating in Bushey.

Figures obtained by the Watford Observer under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that Hertsmere Borough Council has granted taxi licences to 390 drivers 38 of whom hold a total of 42 convictions.

Some drivers have been allowed to drive passengers in the borough despite holding violent, driving and even sex offence convictions.

The council defended its licensing policy saying it would usually refuse an application from people with serious convictions.

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Mike Wright | Watford Observer | August 29th 2012






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