Ten thousand violent crime cases dealt with by ‘community resolution’ methods
The police are dealing with as many as one in eight violent offences, including knife crimes and domestic violence, by getting the offender to apologise to the victim rather than prosecuting them in court, according to House of Commons research.
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, says that Freedom of Information Act requests show a steep rise in the number of serious crimes being dealt with by community resolution methods, such as restorative justice, since a 20% cut in Whitehall grants to the police began to bite in 2010.
The House of Commons library figures show that up to 14% of recorded violent offences are being dealt with in this way by some forces instead of being prosecuted in the courts. The number of cases has risen from 13,420 in 2009 to 22,733 in 2010 and reached 33,673 last year. The 2012 figures include 10,160 offences involving serious injury being dealt with in this way. Read more
Alan Travis | The Guardian | 30th April 2013
We pay £900m to help Britons who fall sick in Europe but get just £48m back to pay for visitors’ NHS treatment
The UK pays almost £1billion a year to cover the healthcare costs of Britons who fall ill on the continent – but receives only a fraction of that for NHS treatment of European visitors. Official figures show that last year taxpayers handed £903.4million to European governments and insurance providers to pay for the care of Britons.
But the NHS managed to collect only £48.7million from the same European countries to pay for the care of their citizens who fall ill here. It means that for every £18 the UK sends to Europe to pay for healthcare, it gets only £1 back.
The figures underline how ineffective NHS hospitals are at clawing back money they are owed compared with those in Europe, amid claims that ‘health tourism’ costs British taxpayers billions a year. Many NHS trusts do not even keep records of debt. Read more
Daniel Martin | The Daily Mail | 29th April 2013
Finance Wales defends its investment track record after criticism from Plaid Cymru
Finance Wales has responded to criticism that the amount it invests into small businesses has fallen since 2009 by saying its investments have actually risen within the last year.
Plaid Cymru said that a Freedom of Information request by one of its AMs revealed that in its last financial year 2012-13, investment by Finance Wales was nearly £10m less than three years before.
The party said the funding figures released by Finance Wales highlight the need for a Welsh Government-owned Bank of Wales to be established. Read more
Chris Kelsey | Wales Online | 29th April 2013
Loans of £6m are given by Bradford Council
Bradford Bulls is one of only three businesses in the city to be given a commercial loan from Bradford Council, which confirmed it has lent companies more than £6 million of taxpayers’ money over the last four years.
Responding to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the authority confirmed it had negotiated commercial loans with a total of £6.35 million with three firms in the district between 2009 and 2013, with interest rates of between 2.5 per cent and 22.2 per cent.
It refused to reveal the amount of each individual loan, or who it had been made to, but the Telegraph & Argus last month reported how the Bulls had been granted a £200,000 commercial loan, which must be paid back with interest. Read more
Bradford Telegraph and Argus | 29th April 2013
IRAQ: In draconian move, Iraq suspends licences of 10 TV stations
Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns yesterday’s decision by Iraq’s Media and Communications Commission to suspend the licences of 10 foreign-based satellite TV channels for “inciting violence and sectarianism.”
“This draconian and disproportionate decision has seriously endangered freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Although the media must act responsibly, they are just doing their job when they cover Iraq’s current serious divisions and tension. ”
“We urge the Media and Communications Commission to quickly rescind this decision and to allow the media to cover all developments of general interest throughout the country.” Read more
Reporters Without Borders | 29th April 2013
DENMARK: Danes say “no, thank you” to restricted freedom of information
Jesper Tynell, Oluf Jørgensen, Pernille Boye Koch and Lars Rugaard are a few of the impressive list of academics, politicians and award-winning journalists who tenaciously oppose the new freedom of information act,offentlighedsloven, presented by the government.
Their biggest and most valid arguments have been that the new law, especially sections 24 and 27, would create a political vacuum where no one, journalists or otherwise, could control whether public officials and politicians were doing their job well enough, telling the truth, withholding vital information or abusing their power.
The main theme in the new freedom of information act is the political argument based (so the government says) on the idea that officials need to be able to work with the government without being disturbed by the media. Read more
Gertrud Christensen | The Copenhagen Post | 29th April 2013
USA: Supreme Court says Virginia can block out of state use of its FOIA
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it’s legal for a state to limit use of its Freedom of Information Act to its own residents.
The court unanimously upheld a federal appeals court decision validating Virginia’s limitation of its FOIA law to state citizens and some media outlets.
In the case before the court, Rhode Island resident Mark J. McBurney and California resident Roger W. Hurlbert were suing Virginia for blocking them from getting public documents in Virginia that in-state citizens could have easily obtained. Virginia’s FOIA law limits access to state citizens and some media outlets. Read more
The Washington Post | 29th April 2013