FOI Friday: Cannabis, university spending, race crimes at the football and asbestos in council buildings

FOIFRIDAYLOGOUnpaid court fines tops £4million – Bedfordshire On Sunday

MORE than £4 million in court fines is owed to courts in Bedfordshire, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The figures, released by Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), show that last September the amount of fines owed to the county’s courts stood at £4,286,800.

The criminal with 145 crimes to his names – Newcastle Journal

A ONE-MAN crime wave racked up 145 offences in two years, re-offending figures have revealed.

The string of crimes makes the 20-year-old male from Durham the region’s most prolific offender.

He was closely followed by a 38-year-old female and a 45-year-old male who committed 130 crimes each between January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2012, say Durham Constabulary.

In total, the top nine offenders together were responsible for 702 crimes across the force area.

Freedom of Information requests to North East police forces revealed just 19 criminals were behind more than a thousand crimes in the region over the last two years.

1000 council buildings containing Asbestos – North Wales Daily Post

SCHOOLS, leisure centres and public toilets are among more than 1,000 council-owned buildings in North Wales which contain asbestos.

A Freedom of Information request by the Daily Post has revealed that all types of the dangerous substance which is now illegal to use – are found in buildings across the region including the most hazardous material, crocidolite.

The figures showed Gwynedd to have the highest number of buildings containing asbestos with 409 in total, which included Arfon Leisure Centre in Caernarfon, Bangor Swimming Pool and Hafod Y Gest care home in Porthmadog.

Pauper funeral rise in Plymouth – Plymouth  Herald

ALMOST 100 people in Plymouth have been buried in so-called ‘paupers’ graves’.

The depressing statistic paints a harrowing picture of people in the community dying penniless and in isolation.

The figures on state-funded funerals were released to The Herald through the Freedom of Information Act.

But the reality could be much worse, since people who die in hospital are the responsibility of Plymouth Hospitals Trust.

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Hospital board members get ‘gadgets’ – Wigan Evening Post

WIGAN hospital chiefs have been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money after being issued a laptop AND an iPad each.

Details released under Freedom of Information rules reveal that seven executive board members of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust have each been issued with a laptop, ranging from a cost of between £600 and £956, and a BlackBerry Curve, with handsets worth between £91 and £378. And six of the seven employees of the executive team were given an iPad Retina.

The pressure group The Taxpayers’ Alliance today described the spending on gadgetry as “excessive.”

University spending on agency workers – Wolverhampton Express and Star

Agency workers have cost the University of Wolverhampton nearly half a million pounds in less than two years, it can be revealed today.

Bosses spent £335,170 on cover staff from August 2011 to July last year. They then also forked out £109,619 from August until December last year.

The spending was revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Coventry’s cannabis capitals – Coventry Telegraph

CANNABIS plants worth almost £9million have been seized during raids on drug factories in Coventry during the last two years.

An astonishing 20,000 illegal plants were discovered in cannabis factories, most of which were set up in rented homes.

Last year there was on average almost a raid a week in Coventry.

A specialist police team was set up to dismantle cannabis factories in October 2010.

What prisoners complain about – Sunday Sun

FRANKLAND prison, which hosts some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, is the most complained about jail by inmates in the country, the Sunday Sun can reveal.

A Freedom of Information investigation has revealed the Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) upheld 130 complaints made by inmates at the jail over the last three years.

The figure includes eight complaints for staff behaviour and accounted for 89% of all upheld grievances at prisons in the North.

One prisoner who wasn’t allowed to collect his lunch because he arrived at the servery after it had closed claimed the officer’s actions amounted to bullying and put in a complaint.

Race abuse claims at football clubs – Manchester Evening News

Eighteen reports of racist behaviour were made at United and City matches last season.

Documents obtained by the M.E.N. under Freedom of Information laws show that police were called to deal with 11 complaints at Old Trafford and seven at the Etihad Stadium.

In one incident at Old Trafford, a police officer was racially abused as they attempted to search a supporter.

Cautions for sex offenders – East Anglian Daily Times

NEARLY 90 sex offenders have escaped with a slap on the wrist from Suffolk police instead of facing the court.New figures released to the East Anglian Daily Times under Freedom of Information laws showed officers issued cautions, reprimands and warnings to 89 sex offenders between 2010 and 2012.

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