The Day in FoIA: Boris to disclose News International conversations | Minister’s friendship with Rwandan regime revealed | Belfast: Bill for policing riots tops £550k
Boris Johnson forced to disclose details of conversations with NI executives
Boris Johnson is under pressure to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry after being forced to publish his diary listing a string of undisclosed conversations with News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch, at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.
The 139-page document reveals the existence of a number of phone calls and meetings the London mayor had not previously reported to the London assembly nor admitted to in response to freedom of information requests.
The conversations took place as the phone-hacking scandal raged and, on two occasions, just days after Johnson had spoken to the then assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, John Yates, who oversaw the original failed phone-hacking investigation.
Daniel Boffey | The Observer | 6th October 2012
Minister’s Friendship with leader of hardline regime revealed
The depth of the relationship between Andrew Mitchell and Rwanda’s hardline leader was revealed yesterday as it emerged the senior Tory has visited the African state eight times in the past six years.
Mr Mitchell has been criticised by human rights groups for lifting a freeze on £16million of British aid to President Paul Kagame’s regime on his final day as International Development Secretary last month.
Documents released by the Department for International Development [under the Freedom of Information Act] suggest Mr Mitchell had promised Kagame he would continue pumping in aid money despite concerns about the regime’s dire human rights record.
Jason Groves | Daily Mail | 8th October 2012
Belfast: Bill for policing riots tops £550k
The cost of policing serious rioting which erupted in north Belfast last month topped £500,000, it can be revealed.
Dozens of PSNI officers were injured during the disorder in the Carlisle Circus area over three nights.
Trouble broke out on Sunday, September 2 and continued on the Monday and Tuesday nights, with 56 officers hurt and three needing hospital treatment.
Now it has emerged that the cost of policing the riots came to £553,000.
The total, released by the PSNI after a Freedom of Information request, includes dealing with minor disorder on September 5 and 6
Adrian Rutherford | Belfast Telegraph | 5th October 2012
Greenwich Council avoids publishing Olympics Games ticket information
THERE’S more chance of you winning the 100 metres final in Rio than finding out which Olympic events Greenwich’s top councillors went to this summer.
Using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, the London Assembly Liberal Democrats have been attempting to discover since May how many tickets Greenwich Council took up, how they were paid for and who went.
In answer to the first request, Greenwich Council listed the 500 tickets it had for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, worth £27,570, but did not say how they were paid for.
Mark Chandler | This is Local London | 7th October 2012
Suffolk Police cut the cost of overtime
SUFFOLK Police have cut their overtime bill, even though hours worked have changed little.
A Freedom of Information request by the Bury Free Press has revealed that a change in working practices has cut costs.
The figures were distorted in 2008-09 because of the prison officers’ dispute which saw officers earning overtime looking after prisoners in police cells. Those costs were claimed back from the Prison Service.
Bury Free Press |7th October 2012
Classroom squeeze ‘means up to 29,000 pupils miss out on first choice primary school’
Thousands more children are losing out on their first choice of primary school because of a classroom crisis, new figures reveal.
The squeeze on places also means many pupils are being taught in makeshift or previously disused buildings.
A total of 10,315 children missed out on their first choice, according to data released by 55 local authorities under Freedom of Information rules. This is up from 9,287 children who lost out last year.
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg, who compiled the figures, warned that if the pattern was repeated across the country, the number of pupils missing out would be 28,494.
Vincent Moss | The Mirror | 7th October 2012