FOI Friday: Dirty hospitals, re-employed redundant council workers, lost dogs and drug warrants

A fortnightly round-up of FOI-based stories which could be followed up anywhere…

The secret past of would-be teachers < < < Sunday Sun

POSSESSING explosives, being drunk while in charge of a child, death by reckless driving and indecent assault on a girl . . these are just some of the serious criminal convictions would-be teachers in the North have under their belt.

Hundreds of potential teachers have been applying for classroom positions across the region despite holding a range of serious criminal convictions, the Sunday Sun can reveal.

Information released by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), after the Sunday Sun made a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed the scale of convictions clocked up by teachers applying for positions in the North.

Childhood drugs overdoses < < < Sunderland Echo

A SIX-YEAR-OLD was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital after overdosing on antidepressants.

The shocking revelation comes as new figures show three people a day are admitted to the city’s hospital after taking a drug overdose.

A total of 2,999 people were taken to A&E after overdosing on prescribed or non-prescribed medicine and drugs from December 2008 to December 2011.

The youngest was a six-year-old. A further five 12-year-olds were admitted after overdosing on painkillers, penicillin and anti-inflammatory drugs.

More council compensation claims < < < Sunday Mercury

A COUNCIL grave digger has been awarded £65,000 compensation – after he fell into a burial plot he was preparing.

The cemetery worker received the payout from Birmingham City Council (BCC) after he hurt his right knee in the incident.

He is one of several local authority employees who have claimed compensation after being injured at work.

Click here to find out more!In another case a school worker was handed £100,000 after slipping on food in a dinner hall.

Council workers who took redundancy – and then got new jobs at the same council < < < Stoke Sentinel

MORE than £3 million was paid out in redundancy packages to 171 council workers – only for them to return to work for the same authority in new jobs.

Staffordshire County Council ran up the bill over the past three years, paying off staff who had lost their posts.

But the same employees were later rehired to fill new roles at the local authority.

The details have emerged after The Sentinel revealed neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent City Council had shelled out £330,603 in redundancy payouts to 25 workers, only to re-employ them.

Surge in demand for sleeping pills < < < HSJ

The NHS spent nearly £50m on sleeping pills last year, a sharp rise on previous costs, new figures reveal.

Some 15.3 million prescriptions were handed out in 2010-11, compared with 14.5 million in 2007-08, according to NHS figures obtained by the Co-operative Pharmacy.

A Freedom of Information request revealed health trusts spent £49.2million on the drugs in 2010-11, up from £42m three years previously – an increase of more than 17 per cent.

Locations of drug warrant executions < < < Crosby Herald

CANNABIS represents the biggest challenge to police fighting the war on drugs on the streets of Crosby, Litherland and Bootle, according to new figures.

The statistics , which the Herald obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, also reveal the location of warrants issued under the Police & Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 (PACE) or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 from 2009 to 2011.

The figures reveal that the majority of raids took place in Bootle and Litherland, with some properties being raided more than once by police.

All the crimes at schools, colleges and universities in Reading < < < Reading Post

A crime has been reported on average nearly once a day at Reading borough schools, colleges and the town’s university over the past five years.

A total of 1,655 offences were reported to police on education premises between 2007 and 2011 equating to an average of 331 a year – although the number has consistently fallen year on year.

Figures obtained by the Reading Post under the Freedom of Information Act showed last year there was a total of 231 crimes compared to 299 in 2010 and 398 in 2007.

Among the most serious was the reporting of a rape of a teenage girl under 16, the alleged sexual assault of two others and another suspected case of sexual activity with a child under 13.

More than 1,400 lost and abandoned dogs found on Birmingham streets last year < < < Birmingham Mail

MORE than 1,400 lost and abandoned dogs were impounded in Birmingham last year, the Birmingham Mail can reveal.
And new heartbreaking figures from the city council show just 400 of the strays were reclaimed by their owners.

Police spending on hotels < < < Gloucestershire Echo

GLOUCESTERSHIRE police spent nearly a quarter of a million pounds on hotels in the past three years.

Figures reveal police staff, not officers, have been staying in hotels charging up to £247 per person per night at the tax payers’ expense.

 Creepy crawlies found in hospitals < < < Wigan Evening Post

COCKROACHES, ants and biting insects are just some of the bugs that are invading Wigan hospitals.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) have spent thousands of pounds on pest control at all three of their sites over the past three years according to data released through a freedom of information request.

In total the trust spent £24,000 on pest control at Wigan Infirmary, Wrightington Hospital and Leigh Infirmary.

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