FOI Friday: Lasering planes, worst days to die in hospital and reasons for refusing council houses

FOIFRIDAYLOGOThe day of the week you’re most likely to die in hospital < Surrey Mirror

PATIENTS are far more likely to die at East Surrey Hospital on a Monday than any other day of the week, according to figures obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The figures highlight an apparent sizeable disparity between death rates on different days of the week, with 40 per cent more deaths on Mondays than on Saturdays, the day of the week when you are least likely to die at the hospital.

Seven people a day taken to court for unpaid council tax < Romford Recorder

Seven people a day were taken to court by Brentwood Council last year for failing to pay their council tax.

And thousands of households were in arrears from April 2012 to March 2013, the new figures show.

Tax of £1.9million was owed at the time the summonses were issued, a freedom of information request by the Recorder has revealed.

In the same year, the council took 2,754 people to court to recoup the money.

The council says it recovered £1.3m – leaving £650,000 still outstanding at the end of the period. Most of this has since been recovered.

Hospitals using ‘zero hours’ contracts < Northern Echo

SOME of the region’s hospitals are under fire after thousands of staff were placed on controversial “zero-hours” contracts – with no guarantee of pay.

An investigation by Labour found at least 2,503 workers are now on the contracts, some of the 67,000 used across the NHS in England.

At York Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals across North Yorkshire, the number has soared to 1,069 – from just 166 three years ago.

Both North Tees and Hartlepool (786 staff) and South Tees Hospitals (312) trusts also revealed widespread use of the contracts, although those numbers are falling.

Total use across the North-East and North Yorkshire is likely to be higher, because three hospital trusts did not respond to freedom of information requests.

POLICE have received 350 reports of sexual acts being carried out in a public place across the county in the last two years.

The figures were released by Leicestershire Police following a Freedom of Information request and show that between April 1 2011 and April 1 this year officers received calls about everything from people having sex in a public toilet, a phone box and a playhouse to indecent exposure.

In Hinckley and Bosworth, police received reports of 12 incidents of this nature over the two-year period including a couple seen having sex in a car in Burbage in 2011/12 and a couple having sex in public in Market Bosworth during 2012/13. No-one was arrested in connection with either of these incidents.

Housing benefits cuts stand at £15m in East Midlands < BBC

Housing benefit payments in the East Midlands are being cut by more than £15m this year under the government reform of the welfare system.

Figures from 18 of 21 local councils, responding to a BBC Freedom of Information request, show about 22,700 tenants had their benefit reduced.

The government said the changes, which reduce help given to tenants with spare rooms, make the system “fairer”.

Reasons for turning down social housing < East Grinstead Courier and Observer

WANTING a different toilet is just one of the reasons thousands of social housing applicants have rejected homes offered to them over the last three years.

Figures obtained by the Courier & Observer using the Freedom of Information Act show that since April 2010, 3,183 applicants across Mid Sussex have refused to move to houses selected for them.

Asian Pakistani people were the victims of more than a quarter of all racially-aggravated crime in Salford between 2011 and 2012 – and they’re on the rise, MM can reveal.

The figures, obtained following a freedom of information request to Greater Manchester Police (GMP), show an 18% increase in attacks on Asian Pakistanis from 2011 to 2012.

Of 2485 racially-motivated attacks in Salford in the two years, 689, or 27%, were on Asian Pakistanis – more than double the next biggest figure of 308 attacks on White British people.

20 TV licence dodgers a day brought before the courts < Manchester Evening News

Twenty people a day are being hauled before the courts for TV licence dodging in Greater Manchester.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show nearly 7,000 people were prosecuted last year for failing to pay the charge.

The vast majority of non-paying viewers were hit with fines, but none were asked to cough up the maximum £1,000 penalty.

But leading magistrates say impoverished families were often disproportionately punished.

Lasers blind pilots bringing home wounded troops < Birmingham Mail

Thugs are using powerful lasers to target airliners, police helicopters and even military transporters bringing wounded troops into Birmingham.

There have been more than 220 separate laser attacks reported in the West Midlands in the last two years, according to alarming new figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The worrying statistics, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed one attack on the police helicopter last year came from the open window of a mosque in Small Heath.

Savile triggers rise in historic sex abuse case reports < WalesOnline (and BBC)

Two Welsh police forces have seen dramatic rises in the number of reported sex offences since the Jimmy Savile scandal, it has emerged.

Nationwide, forces witnessed a 9% increase in the number of alleged abuse victims coming forward following the broadcast of a programme about Savile aired on TV on October 3 last year.

Yet police in South and North Wales saw the number of complaints year on year surge 49% and 45% respectively following the show entitled Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy.

The BBC figures provide evidence of a so-called “Savile effect”, with victims of sexual abuse prompted to come forward by disclosures that the late presenter was a serial sex attacker.


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