FOI Friday: Credit card spending, charging for policing, domestic abuse homelessness and noisy people

10 good examples of FOI in action from the local, regional and national media:

1. Unpaid parking fines < < < Scunthorpe Telegraph

Just shy of £250k has gone unpaid in Scunthorpe over the past three years. Not a new FOI request theme, but a relevant one: If councils are so hard up, then why not chase the money which they’ve spent money to issue the fines for in the first place?

2. Credit card spending of senior police officials < < < Yorkshire Post

We’ve seen FOI requests before for the credit card spending of senior policemen, or councillors or council chief executives – but how many police authorities issue credit credits to their chief executives? In Cleveland they did – and the spending seems incredible.

3. Charging for policing < < < Cumberland News

In Cumbria, the police have charge organisations £100,000 for covering events such as music festivals. No controversy here – unless you believe all policing should be free – but interesting numbers all the same.

4. Dangerous roads < < < Mid Devon Gazette

A good use of FOI to highlight how dangerous a road is – asking for the accident statistics dating back over 15 years, made possible by understanding the way the data is held.

5. Domestic abuse homelessness < < < Bolton News

I’ve seen FOI requests numerous times asking for the number of cases of domestic violence reported to police, but this is the first time I’ve seen numbers which reveal the number of people being reported as homeless – and the reason for their homelessness being  domestic violence.

 6. Investigated by the police – but allowed to keep a pension < < < Cambridge News

Interesting numbers from the Cambridge News, revealing the number of officers who had quit the force while their conduct was under investigation – for some quite serious offences, some of which ended up in court, yet the officers got to keep their pensions.

7. Noise complaints and where is noisiest < < < South Wales Evening Echo

Using FOI, the Echo has revealed how Cardiff Council deals with 14,000 noise complaints a year – and mapped the noisiest areas. Good informational content for readers too.

8. Objects left in patients < < < Tayside Courier

19 people have left hospital in Tayside with objects still inside them during the past five years – an FOI which could run and run elsewhere.

9. Mobile speed camera detection rates < < < Stoke Sentinel

You’d think that you wouldn’t have to FOI for speed camera detection rates – after all, the data should be freely available. But – like most open data – it’s still pretty hit and miss. So it’s back to FOI – for now….

10. Number of children held in police cells < < < Cambridge News

An 11-year-old girl held in cells overnight? It’s this sort of data which makes doing FOIs so worthwhile for journalists.

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FOI Friday is compiled using Google News and tip-offs sent to this blog or to me via Twitter @davidhiggerson

 

 

 

 

 

 

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