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FOI Friday: Drugs busts, law-breaking bus drivers and the kennel bills of missing dogs

Nowhere to hide: The police have been coming after bus driver, too

Nowhere to hide: The police have been coming after bus driver, too

Law-breaking bus drivers

The South Wales Echo reports on the penalty notices issued by police in Cardiff to bus drivers in recent years. Some 35 offences, including jumping red lights and speeding, were revealed after an FOI to the police. (Source: South Wales Echo)

The value of drugs seized

Good work by the Sunday Sun, which asked police forces across the north to reveal the worth of drugs seized by its officers, broken down by area. A great example, in my opinion, of using FOI to inspire a strong data-led story. (Source: Sunday Sun)

The cost of cancelled Building Schools for the Future programmes

The government says it scrapped the Building Schools for the Future programme to save money – but an unintended consequence (from the government’s point of view) has been the amount of money already committed to architects, designers, consultants and so on. In Somerset, an FOI request revealed that more than £1million have been effectively wasted. (Source: thisissomerset)

Parking problems

A different take on parking FOIs from the Plymouth Herald which reports on an FOI submitted by a local councillor who wanted to find out if the number of parking permits issued by the council in residential areas exceeded the number of parking spaces available. It did – by 700. No wonder parking can be a struggle for residents there! (Source: Plymouth Herald)

Tories at war

A good example of going after email communications using FOI from the Scarborough Evening News. It used FOI to get hold of an email written by the Tory council leader responding to claims by the Government that councils hadn’t coped very well with the snow. (Source: Scarborough Evening News)

Unpaid council tax

With cuts biting everywhere, finding out how much council tax is owed to a council is quite timely. The Wigan Evening Post reports on more than £2million owed to Wigan Council in one year alone – roughly 10% of the cuts they need to make. (Source: Wigan Evening Post)

Speeding fines … on motorways

I thought speeding fines information sourced via FOI had been done to death, but here’s a different look at the issue thanks to Bedfordshire on Sunday. It reported on the number of people fined for speeding through roadworks on the M1 in Bedfordshire: 3,046 and £60 a time. This is one which could run and run. (Source: Bedfordshire on Sunday)

Potholes

The BBC caused a stir this week when it published the results of an FOI investigation into payouts for potholes. Some councils questioned the figures used by the BBC but the story, sliced and diced in various way for the various parts of the Beeb’s empire, is a good ‘un. Rather than just ask for levels of compensation awarded by a council, as we’ve seen in the past, the BBC asked specifically for claims paid out for damage caused by potholes. (Source: BBC)

The cost of looking after dogs

With police cuts looming, there’s probably not been a better time to examine how police spend money. The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports on how £85,000 a year is spent looking after dogs police in Yorkshire round up. That works out at £400 a dog. Sadly, the T and A has chosen to just put three paragraphs online, inviting us to instead buy the paper to read the whole story. Seeing as it’s now Friday, and the story appeared on Monday, that’s not very helpful. (Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

What cyclists are fined for

The Gloucestershire Echo used FOI to find out how often police issued fixed penalty notices to cyclists. Just two were issued for cyclists jumping red lights, but offences such as cycling on the pavement and cycling without lights generated many more tickets. (Source: Gloucestershire Echo)

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