It’s been a week for hearing about cutbacks in the public sector. Councils will argue they are as a lean as they can be anyway. But the South Wales Echo, using FOI, has learnt that £350k a year is spent £350k on top-of-the-range cars to ferry their political masters around.
The Northumberland Gazette reports this week on findings from a freelance journalist who asked for the results of cocaine spotting operation in Alnwick which concluded that 24 of the 33 pubs tested in the area had traces of cocaine in them. At the time, the police only issued vague details of the results to the local paper. Given the connection Harry Potter has to Alnwick – I think parts were filmed there – the story has been huge nationally, and the police have been left to defend why they were so vague on detail in the first place.
A great result for the Streatham Guardian which used FOI to find out the number of children being treated for drug addications – including booze – in the area. The information came from the local PCT – or NHS Lambeth - and led to this story:
NHS Lambeth said the majority were treated for cannabis use, but “a very low amount” were treated for other drugs such as cocaine, as well as alcohol misuse.
The figures show 52, 12 to 15-year-olds were treated in 2007-08, 56 in 2008-09 and 46 by the end of 2009.
It is estimated this could rise to 61 when the full statistics for 2009-10 are published later this year. Some 22 were treated for alcohol abuse.
They were referred for treatment by themselves, parents, schools, social workers and outreach programmes.