The government has spent almost £750,000 on 8,815 London 2012 Olympic tickets, allocated to officials and VIPS according to the Independent.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s 213 tickets for the opening ceremony cost £194,525 while 41 top-priced tickets for the same event cost £2,012.12 each.
According to the Guardian, the government will argue 3,000 of those tickets will go to staff closely involved with the Games, who will be asked to pay for them in stages.
The Daily Mail, which filed the request, reports the tickets will be handed out to VIPs, business leaders and individuals with strong links to the Olympic movement and London 2012.
Mirror quoted Baroness Dee Doocey, who said officials “jumped the queue”. “The Olympics are special. They are about fairness and moral integrity. Politicians and officials watching the Games at taxpayers’ expense will undermine this.”
The Times mentions Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, defended the policy saying the nearly 9,000 tickets represented 0.1 per cent of the 8.8 million available.
Figures show alarming number of complaints in hospitals
The Daily Mail has made FoIA requests to Primary Care Trusts and Health Boards across the UK, which are responsible for more than 500 hospitals. The information released reveals that in 2010, 49 per cent of the complaints were relating to doctors, 29 per cent to nurses, 6 per cent about administration and 2 per cent about midwives. Of all the hospitals examined, Leicester Royal Infirmary was the one with the most complaints, receiving a total of 275.
BBC spends £500k on Apple products
BBC staff might have to face redundancies but its bosses have spent £500,000 this year alone on Apple products. According to the Sun, figures released under the freedom of information show the broadcaster’s chiefs have spent half a million of license-payers’ money in iPhones, iPads and Apple computers.
Police officers receive huge bonuses despite massive budget cuts in the force
A Mirror investigation revealed that despite widespread budget cuts, “top cops” across the UK have received bonuses that amount to £130,000 during the past year. FoIA requests showed the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, Colin Port, received £17,341 on top of his £155,000 salary, and Lincolnshire Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes got £13,271 on top of his £112,000 salary.
The data collected after a freedom of information request by the BBC’s Panorama reveal 1,915 officers were found guilty of misconduct from 2008 to 2010.
One fifth of those, 382 as the Guardian states, were dismissed or required to resign while a total of 489 faced misconduct action during the same period.
Campaign groups have been calling for more accountability among forces.
Lawyer Jocelyn Cockburn, who represents cases involving complaints against police, stressed the danger of guilty officers avoiding punishment by resigning. Officers with clean records could repeatedly breach police codes of conduct in other forces after they resign.
“If they are allowed to leave the police without any stain on their character then there is the chance they will go and work in another force, and that does happen,” she said.
According to BBC News, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy, representing the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said corrupt officers, were damaging community confidence in the authorities but extenuating the disciplinary procedure could be costly to the taxpayers:
“There is a judgement about, do you want to wait for a long drawn out disciplinary procedure, which you know is likely to end in the officer losing their job, or if that officer is willing to resign, is it not in the public interest again, to get them off the payroll and to avoid the cost and expense of a hearing?”
FBI releases surveillance of Russian spies
Surveillance videos of 10 Russian spies were released into the public domain yesterday after Associated Press filed a freedom of information request to the FBI, the Guardian, BBC and the Independent report.
Speed cameras’ fines amount to millions
Britain’s speed cameras operations lead to millions of fines every year according to the Sun. Figures published after an FoIA request filed by the newspaper show that the top ten most ‘profitable’ cameras have cost motorists over £3m in a single year.