Under the new initiative, people can force police to investigate anti-social behaviour by submitting a “community trigger”, if they have previously reported trouble on at least three occasions.
Four areas were chosen to trial the idea, which is meant to empower local communities and will be rolled out as part of the draft Anti-Social Behaviour Bill.
However, a Labour MP’s research has found only a negligible number of people are taking advantange of the initiative, which is part of a wider programme to scrap and replace Asbos.
Gloria De Piero, a shadow Home Office minister, who obtained some of the figures under Freedom of Information Laws, said the new “triggers” do not go far enough to tackle repeated anti-social behaviour. Read more.
Rowena Mason | The Telegraph | 22nd January 2013
Civil servants waging the Government’s war on “skivers” are spending thousands of hours in the office looking at shopping, social networking and sport websites.
Figures reveal officials at the Department of Work and Pensions are logging on to sites like Facebook, Twitter and Sky Sports MILLIONS of times a year.
Google is the most popular website with 690,448,667 views.
The main BBC website is fourth on the list with 116,122,356 views and another Beeb link comes seventh with 76,556,091.
Facebook is fifth with 81,989,727 and Twitter is tenth with 48,796,467.
The other five websites in the top 10 are related to their work for the Government.
The figures were revealed under Freedom of Information laws. Read more.
Jason Beattie | The Mirror | 23rd January 2013
Thousands of children aged as young as 10 are being held overnight in police cells across South Wales every year, figures have revealed.
Nearly 3,000 youngsters aged between 10 and 17 were locked up after being suspected of committing crimes including arson, grievous bodily harm, rape and even murder, during 2010 and 2011.
The data, which was released under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, equates to nearly four children being held every night of the year on average.
The FOI requests revealed that the practice of detaining youngsters overnight varies wildly across the country. Read more.
Sam Malone | Wales Online | 22nd January 2013
Medical and social security records being stored unlawfully and inappropriately accessed, statistics show
Medical and social security records kept by public bodies are being unlawfully or inappropriately accessed dozens of times a month and hundreds of civil servants disciplined for data offences, according to Government records.
Staff at the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) are being reprimanded at a rate of nearly five per day for breach of the rules governing its vast database – thought to be the largest of its kind in Europe – while the Department of Health (DoH) last year recorded 13 cases a month of unlawful access to medical records.
The statistics, obtained by Channel 4’s Dispatches under the Freedom of Information Act, will increase concern about the security of personal data and the ease with which private investigators are selling access to personal and confidential information, much of which is held on state computer systems and is illegal to obtain without suitable authorisation.
Cahal Milmo | The Independent | 14th May 2012
IVF clinics accused of putting money before safety
IVF clinics in the UK are practising aggressive fertility treatments that are putting women and children at unjustified risk, experts say.
The commercially driven industry uses unnecessary procedures, high doses of powerful drugs and risky interventions to help desperate couples spending thousands of pounds to conceive.
There were almost 30,000 cases of OHSS – which can cause chest pains shortness of breath and, in rare cases, kidney failure and death – between 1991 and 2007 in the UK, according to figures obtained from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Jeremy Laurence | The Independent | 14th May 2012
Majority of adults think children should be protected from tobacco marketing
The vast majority of UK adults [84 per cent] think children should be protected from marketing by tobacco companies, according to new research by Cancer Research UK.
Four out five people believe tobacco marketing is harmful to children, while more than two thirds agree that eye catching logs, colourful and distinctive branding on packets make cigarettes more appealing to children.
Last week, a Bristol-based NHS body, Smokefree South West, set up to tackle smoking in the region, said it was being bombarded by an overwhelming number of by Freedom of Information requests from organisations funded by the tobacco industry.
Nina Lakhani | The Independent | 14th May 2012
Shock cost of wheelie bins
REPLACING wheelie bins has cost Wigan Council more than £400,000.
Figures released through a Freedom of Information request have revealed that in the past three financial years Wigan Council has spent £406,086 on replacing the coloured recycling bins across the borough.
Wigan Metro says that the bins cost between £15 and £20 to replace dependent on size, colour and the amount ordered. With an average cost of £17.50 that means that in the past three years, Wigan Council has replaced approximately 23,204 bins. However, the council say the reasons for replacing wheelie bins takes into account many different factors
Wigan Today | 14th May 2012
A nurse working at NHS Ayreshire and Arran has used the Freedom of Information Act to make public otherwise restricted hospital reports that cover more than 20 patient deaths
The BBC reports that Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has ordered an investigation into procedures at the health board.
The incidents, which at the most severe degree, “involved three missed chances to diagnose cancers, the death of a patient who was trapped in a faulty lift, a death which followed inadequate treatment of a leg wound, and two cases where psychiatric patients murdered or attempted to murder a relative”.
Yet reports on the above had previously been withheld from staff at NHS Ayrshire and Arran for at least five years. As a result, nurse Rab Wilson made a Freedom of Information request that eventually returned details on such events which also included twenty patient deaths.
Although Wilson had been informed that he would only be entitled to such details by resorting to the 2000 Freedom of Information legislation, the health board, on the grounds of patient confidentiality, then refused his requests. Nurse Wilson, “realising that dozens of similar reports had also been withheld… appealed to the information commissioner, who has now ordered the health board to release anonymised versions of the reports”. The BBC adds that “Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion said there had been a “catalogue of failings” by the board which may have been the most serious breach of FOI laws he had ever dealt with”.
Rab Wilson also told BBC Scotland “It appeared to me that the learning experience from these events was not being made available.
“I believe that in the new Scotland, which is a place of justice and fair play and compassion, workers should not be afraid to speak out – especially about serious, serious issues like this that impinge on patient safety, patient care and staff safety as well.”
Freedom of Information request reveals Company A4e abuses welfareto-work scheme to gain free labour.
A Freedom of Information request made by the Guardian has returned evidence that the ‘social purpose company’ A4e “sent people it was meant to be helping to find employment to work for nothing in at least two of its London offices” the Times reports.
The work placements were mandatory under the Labour introduced New Deal scheme and lasted for four weeks. The benefit claimants involved were “made to work unpaid for the company or lose their benefits”.
David Cameron has consequently called “for a thorough investigation into the company after four of its former employees were arrested on suspicion of fraud”. The government has since terminated its commercial relationship with A4e, which had previously seen the north London based company receive tens of millions of pounds each year.
‘Two Out of Three Norfolk Criminals Ignore Tagging Rules’, reports EDP.
EDP has announced that two thirds of criminals in Norfolk have ignored the regulations surrounding electronic tagging measure, after the news website makes Freedom of Information request.
The site reports, “the figures, obtained by the EDP through the Freedom of Information Act, show 173 out of the 277 people given tags by Norwich’s Magistrates’ and Crown courts last year breached their curfews, including 38 who tampered with their tags”. Leading to the conclusion that “the numbers raise questions over the use of electronic monitoring which is hailed as an alternative to prison and is becoming more widespread. There were 293 cases in 2009, 411 in 2010 and 393 in 2011” [in Norwich].