FOI FRIDAY: Shop burglaries, looked after children a long way from home, army redundancies and homeless in B&Bs

FOIFRIDAYLOGO‘Looked after’ children housed in different counties < < < Bury Free Press

More than 130 looked after children in Suffolk are being placed outside the county as the demand for placements increases.

Following a Freedom of Information request, the Bury Free Press can reveal that upto the end of February 135 out of the county’s 735 looked after children were homed outside the local authority boundary.

This compares with 155 out of 780 last year, 145 out of 785 in 2010/11 and 150 out of 775 in 2009/10. Children are currently placed in counties such as Kent, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, London, Rutland, Bath, Hampshire, Bradford Metropolitan District, Southend on Sea and West Berkshire.

Child criminals in Nottingham < < < Nottingham Evening Post

POLICE have arrested children as young as eight on suspicion of burglary and robbery.

Notts officers last year made 20 arrests of primary school-age children involving a burglary and ten children aged 11 or under were arrested for robbery.

Figures given to the Post under the Freedom of Information Act show that overall 44 children aged 11 or under were arrested in 2012 – down from 100 two years earlier.

As well as robberies and burglaries, other crimes included theft, assault and criminal damage. Some arrests were even made in connection with rapes, drug possession and having an offensive weapon.

Burglaries in shops < < < Bradford Telegraph and Argus

City centre traders have voiced frustration after figures obtained by the Telegraph & Argus revealed that only 32 people have been convicted following investigations into 684 burglaries of retail and commercial premises in the last year.

Business bosses have called for more police presence to deter burglars after seeing the outcome of a Freedom of Information request regarding non-house burglaries in the Bradford south division, which covers the city centre and suburbs, from October, 2011, to September, 2012.

Police made 89 arrests in relation to the crimes recorded during that period, and 32 people were convicted, although police pointed out that some of those criminals could have been found guilty of several of the offences.

TWENTY soldiers of the Gloucestershire-based 1Rifles have been made redundant in the past year.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed 20 members of the infantry, spanning the ranks from Riflemen to Staff Serjeants, had lost their jobs in the Armed Forces.

Consultation is underway on the next round of military redundancies, announced in January this year.

A spokesman for the army said the number of redundancies that will hit the 1 Rifles will remain unknown until June.

Homeless in B&Bs < < < Western Mail

Hundreds of homeless families and individuals in Wales – including pregnant women – are being put up in bed and breakfast accommodation and Plaid Cymru has warned the plight will worsen after bedroom tax is introduced.

An investigation by the office of Plaid leader Leanne Wood using the Freedom of Information Act has discovered the widespread use of B&Bs, with only the Cardiff and Ceredigion local authorities not using them.

In June 2011 Ms Wood raised the issue of the use of temporary accommodation directly with the then Housing Minister Huw Lewis, highlighting the unsuitability and cost of using temporary accommodation. The Minister promised to stop the use of temporary accommodation.

The second lives of police officers < < < Sunday Sun

Driving wedding cars, organising candle parties and modelling – these are the second jobs of the guardians who police our streets.

From the regular to the down right odd, officers from the rank of Chief Inspector to Constable have declared what keeps them busy when they are not on duty.

The Sunday Sun can reveal the quirky second jobs and business interests of our on-the-beat bobbies thanks to details released under the Freedom of Information Act.

North East councils are making thousands of pounds from smokers who litter the streets with disused cigarette ends.

Figures gathered by Sky Tyne and Wear under the Freedom Of Information Act reveal that authorities in the region have made £196,425 since 2009 in fines for dropping a cigarette.

Newcastle City Council has imposed the most, with 1,905 penalty notices, including 1,558 in 2012.

With a £75 fine, the authority has made £142,875 in four years from cigarette fines alone.

Gateshead is the second highest with 546 (£40,950). Sunderland issued 115 (£8,625) and North Tyneside with 53 (£3,975).

Court short < < < Brighton Argus

Sussex criminals owe the public purse nearly £14 million in court fines and costs, the Argus can reveal.

The county’s magistrates’ courts and crown courts have written off a further £14.5 million in the last five and a half years.

An Argus Freedom of Information request has revealed that over the last five years the amount owed in fines, costs, victim surcharge and compensation payments has varied between £12.7 million and £15.7 million.

Nasties found in hospitals < < < GetBracknell

Cockroaches, rats, mice and ants have been found in Wexham Park Hospital.

Pest controllers were called out 52 times to the Slough hospital and 17 times to Heatherwood Hospital in 2012, a Freedom of Information request submitted last month has revealed.

Food left outside the hospital kitchen for feral cats attracted rats, reported a pest controller after being called out on May 11 last year.

The head chef killed a brown rat the day before, the report released by the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said.

Booze culture gets worse < < < Coventry Telegraph

AMBULANCE crews are dealing with a massive rise of booze-fuelled incidents caused by Britain’s drinking culture.

In the West Midlands over the last four years, paramedics have been called to 52 per cent more emergencies directly as a result of drinking.

Shock figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act showed an increase of 8,503 cases from 2008 to 2011, involving people of all ages, on the streets of the region.

Number of times guns have been fired in an areas < < < Southport Champion

A freedom of information request reveals that there have been 43 firearms discharges in Sefton since 2010.

Over the past three years there have been 24 reported shootings in Bootle, seven in Maghull, four in both Netherton and Litherland, two in Crosby and just one in Aintree.

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