Thousands complain about care of elderly and disabled
More than 4,000 whistleblowers have spoken out in the last 16 months to raise concerns about the way elderly and disabled people are being treated in care homes.
The Care Quality Commission – which regulates care homes and hospitals in England – revealed that some of the complaints concerned care home residents being physically assaulted, according to a report compiled by the BBC.
Chris Skidmore, the Conservative MP for Kingswood in South Gloucestershire who sits on the House of Commons Health Committee, obtained the information about the rise in complaints using a Freedom of Information request.
Western Daily press | 25 June 2012
£50k bill to police Infidel demo
THE cost of policing a Bolton town centre protest by a far right group and a counter protest by an anti-fascism organisation was almost £50,000, it has been revealed.
The Bolton News Under used the Freedom of Information Act, to request information about how much demonstrations by North West Infidels and counter group Unite Against Fascism had cost Greater Manchester Police.
The policing operation involved 308 officers of whom 294 were paid £48,848. But police say the figures are not specific to Bolton and officers were prepared for other demonstrations which took place in Thameside and Heywood on the same day in March.
This is Lancashire | 25th June 2012
Exit interviews show Melbourne City Council bullies staff
Melborune City Council is a hotbed of bullying, incompetence and low morale, its former employees say.
Exit interviews of staff members seen by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information reveal some employees have even walked out of their jobs because they felt bullied and harassed at work.
Anne Wright | Herald Sun | 26 June 2012
Inquiry call over missing NHS records
More than 100 health records – almost half of them in NHS Grampian – went missing in Scotland last year.
The 104 files included personal details of children and sensitive health information, according to details in a Freedom of Information response.
NHS Grampian insisted its 50 records were not “lost” but “reported missing”.
BBC News Scotland | 24th June 2012
A different kettle of fish in Salford? BBC MediaCityUK row rumbles on as scandals and complaining staff continue
As the BBC’s move to Salford Quays remains embroiled in controversy, MM asks whether prejudice is rife among those formerly established in London?
For many BBC staff, the migration north to MediaCityUK may have been a welcome relocation, but for others, it was a deal breaker.
According to a recent request under the Freedom of Information Act made to GMP, there have been a number of crimes against BBC staff in the last year, including a producer being chased by four youths trying to steal bikes from staff and a worker being shot with an air rifle.
Todd Fitzgerald | Mancunian Matters | 31st May 2012
Thousands of 12-point motorists on UK roads
New research has revealed that thousands of motorists are currently driving around Britain’s roads despite having 12 points or more on their licence, even though they could be eligible for disqualification under current regulations.
According to a Freedom of Information request made by the Co-operative Motor Group to the DVLA, almost 9,000 drivers with at least 12 points on their licence continue to use UK roads. While motorists who amass 12 points or more within the space of three years are eligible for a ban, the DVLA stated that courts have the option to “use their discretion” when deciding whether or not to implement such a sanction.
“It is concerning that motorists with so many points on their licence can legally be allowed to continue to drive,” said Co-operative Group managing director Tony Guest. “We would hope that at the very least these drivers are having to undertake re-training to ensure that they do not re-offend, but understand this is rarely the case. We would push for a standard test for drivers that reach 12 points for the safety of all road users.”
Katy Robinson | World News Report | 30th May 2012
Swansea AM demands action as cost of thefts revealed
THE cost of metal theft from publicly owned property in Swansea hit £74,579 last year.
A Freedom of Information request submitted to Swansea Council revealed the cost of stolen items such as road signs, lead, cabling and downpipes during the financial year 2011-12.
The issue was raised in the Assembly chamber by Swansea West AM Mike Hedges, who asked the First Minister what action is being taken to combat metal theft in Wales. It was his information request which revealed the figure for Swansea.
South Wales Evening post | 31st May 2012
Details of innocent people are still being held on DNA database
The Government is failing to delete innocent people from Britain’s vast DNA database, according to figures released today which shows that nearly 70,000 under-16s have now had their genetic fingerprints recorded.
A report compiled by civil liberties campaigners concludes that the current system for retaining DNA remains “uncertain and illiberal”, despite assurances from the Government that the profiles of people found to be innocent would be deleted.
Through a series of Freedom of Information requests, researchers at Big Brother Watch asked Britain’s police forces to detail how many DNA profiles they had collected and whether any had been deleted because a person was subsequently not charged.
Jerome Taylor | The Independent | 05 June 2012
Britain fighting to water down EU green energy targets
Documents obtained by campaigners show that officials are fighting the introduction of tough new targets on renewable energy use and reducing waste.
They are also trying to make the European Union proposals voluntary rather than mandatory.
Green groups say the papers, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, show that ministers have given in to industry lobbying despite their pledge to create the “greenest government ever”.
The Telegraph | 04th June 2012
Facebook-linked crime ‘every 40 minutes’
Data released under freedom of information laws showed that officers logged 12,300 alleged offences involving the popular social networking site.
Investigations of murder, rape, child sex offfences, assault, kidnap, death threats, witness intimidation and fraud made reference to the site, according to data obtained by a newspaper. The vast majority involved alleged harrassment or intimidation by cyber-bullies.
The details came from information supplied by around half of police forces in England and Wales about when Facebook was recorded in crime reports.
The Telegraph | 5th June 2012
Tens of thousands of youngsters stopped and searched by GMP over last five years, new figures reveal
The number of under-18s stopped and searched by the Greater Manchester Police amounts to tens of thousands a year, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
In total, 99,536 people under the age of 18 were stopped and searched over the last five years – the reasons for which include suspected possession of drugs, weapons, or stolen goods – and only 6,771 were then arrested.
Charlie Bennett | Mancunian Matters | 4th June 2012
Middlesbrough Football Club safety fears revealed in letters
LETTERS sent between town hall officials and Middlesbrough Football Club revealed crowd safety issues at the Riverside Stadium.
The correspondence, obtained by the Sunday Sun under the Freedom of Information Act, discloses official concerns about the South East corner of the ground.
Middlesbrough Council’s safety advisory group, responsible for issuing the safety certificate that allows the ground to host games, identified problems during the 2010/11 season.
Andrew Glover | The Sunday Sun | 3rd June 2012
Public release of Japan death penalty paperwork answers some questions on process
The administrative procedures that take place between a death sentence and execution in Japan have been revealed through a freedom-of-information request filed by the Mainichi.
The Ministry of Justice handed the Mainichi 282 pages of documents relating to the execution of 12 inmates since 2009, marking the first time that the steps surrounding an execution have been made public. However, 147 of the pages — more than half — were completely blacked out.
The signing of an execution order by the justice minister is a concept that the public has come to understand as protocol through media reports, but according to the newly disclosed information, the justice minister does not sign execution orders. Rather, he or she signs another type of document titled “assessment results of the execution case.”
The Mainichi Daily News | 1st June 2012
Northern Rock is to hand around £270,000 to a former director following the controversial sale of the nationalised bank to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money.
Former finance director Jim McConville is to receive the payout through a long-term incentive plan (LTIP), put in place in April 2010, in two payments in 2013 and 2014.
The payout is likely to be confirmed in Northern Rock’s next annual report – expected in June – but can be revealed by the Guardian as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request that UK Financial Investments, the body that looks after the bailed-out banks, attempted to block.
Read more here.
Marcus Williamson | The Guardian | 11th April 2012
NHS patients sent home at night ‘to free up hospital beds’
Official figures show that up to 400,000 patients were discharged from wards between 11pm and 6am throughout the country last year.
Some hospitals discharged nearly one in 10 patients late at night, according to the statistics released under Freedom of Information laws.
Hospital managers suggested the practice was occurring “under the radar” and admitted it was likely being used as a way of creating beds despite generally being not in a patient’s best interest.
Read more here.
Andrew Hough | The Telegraph | 12th April 2012
Staff at BBC Salford get minders after being shot at with air rifles
A handful of workers at the £200million MediaCityUK complex – home to BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 live and Match of the Day – have fallen victim to crime in the past year.
The head of security for Peel Media Group which owns and polices the site, wrote in the same email that guards were “constantly patrolling” and 300 CCTV cameras were monitoring security.
There have been a number of thefts of laptops, iPads and mobile phones there, according to information obtained from the BBC and Greater Manchester Police by a freedom of information request.
Read more here.
Anita Singh | The Telegraph | 12th April 2012
Police informants were paid £379,015 in the year to April 2010 by Greater Manchester Police alone – enough to pay the salaries of 25 fully qualified nurses.
The revelation follows a freedom of information request but to really make sense of the sum the public needs more information.
How many successful prosecutions came as a direct result of information supplied by an informant? What are other forces spending on informants and who is being spied on?
Request Initiative has decided to investigate. We’ve sent out requests to the 43 constabularies of England and Wales requesting information on their payments to informants for 2011, 2010, 2006 and 2001.
We’ve also asked for several details about the nature of the payments that we’ll elaborate on as the results come in.
Brendan Montague, executive director of Request, said: “During these times of austerity it is alarming to discover how much money one police force can spend in one year on informants.
“In the wake of the Mark Kennedy fiasco the public are rightly very concerned about what kind of information police forces are paying for? How much of taxpayers’ money is being wasted in infiltrating civil rights groups?”
Mark Kennedy went undercover for the police among environmental activists who were planning to occupy a power station, but “came out” and admitted he had intimate relationships with those he was spying upon. He then provided evidence that led to court cases collapsing and convictions being over-turned.
Greater Manchester Police said when releasing the information: “The informant system is one of the important tools at GMP’s disposal, which we use to glean information from the criminal fraternity.”