FOI Friday: Social workers sacked, unsolved crimes, bailiffs after benefit cuts and dodgy drivers

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Thirty-year-old unsolved murders in Surrey – Surrey Advertiser/GetSurrey

A total of 41 murder cases in the county – the earliest dating back to 1974 – remain unsolved to this day, the Surrey Advertiser can reveal.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed murders in Epsom, Ash, Guildford, Effingham, Ashtead, Virginia Water and Woking for which nobody has been convicted.

Detective Superintendent Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “The overall number of unsolved murders in Surrey remains low, with an average of just over one a year since 1974, and no unsolved murders have taken place in the county in the past five years.

Malnutrition cases on the rise – Burton Mail

DIAGNOSED cases of malnutrition in Burton have trebled since 2008 – an increase which mirrors a national trend – according to figures obtained by the Mail.

The number of patients either admitted with malnutrition or treated for malnutrition at Queen’s Hospital, Burton, increased from less than five in 2008 to 15 in 2013.

The data was obtained after a Freedom of Information request.

Malnutrition can be caused by a poor diet, a lack of food or illnesses which prevents the absorption of nutrients.

Chop chop trees – Sheffield Star

Sheffield is being stripped of more than 1,000 trees in just over one year.

Figures obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the council is working to fell 1,200 trees from a stock of 36,000 by March.

Streets Ahead contractor Amey has already pulled down 750 highway trees – some 100 years old – which they claim are dead, dying, diseased, dangerous or damaging structures since August 2012.

‘Mentally ill held like criminals’ – South Wales Argus

THE number of people in Gwent detained by police from public places because they were thought to be mentally ill increased in 2013, it has been revealed.

Information taken from a Freedom of Information request shows by the start of December, Gwent Police had detained 194 people who they felt were in need of assessment or treatment for a mental illness under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

It is an increase from 173 in 2012. The number of people detained in Gwent under section 136 has increased year on year since 2010.

Bailiffs sent to chase people after changes to council tax benefits – Essex County Standard

CHANGES to council tax rules have led to bailiffs being sent to 205 Colchester homes.

New benefits rules in April last year meant the majority of working age claimants now have to pay at least 20 per cent of their council tax.

The changes affected about 8,000 households in the borough which were asked to pay, on average, £169.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed 3,225 people found themselves in arrears at some point.

Revealing the worst drivers in Lancashire – Lancashire Telegraph

DRIVERS in Great Harwood and Langho have more points on their licences than anywhere else in East Lancashire.

Statistics from the DVLA show that in the BB6 postcode area, 1,293 motorists have penalty points out of a total of 9,896 licence holders.

This equates to just over 13 per cent of drivers in the area having an endorsed licence, Of those with penalty points, 36 have nine or more.

Points can be given for a variety of offences including drink-driving, speeding, and using a mobile phone.

The cost of missed hospital appointments – Yorkshire Evening Post

Patients failed to attend nearly 130,000 hospital appointments in Leeds last year.

And over three years, the number of appointments where patients did not turn up or cancelled on the day topped 368,000.

The cost to the NHS in Leeds is estimated at around £21m last year alone.

Since 2010, that cost could rise to as much as £62m.

Social workers sacked – Sunderland Echo

SIX social workers from Sunderland City Council have been suspended from their jobs during the past three years, the Echo can reveal.

Of those, five went on to be sacked by the authority over concerns about their conduct.

The figures come after the Echo submitted a Freedom of Information request revealing 118 complaints were made to the council during a 12 month period regarding the care provided by social workers to children.

Only one in four crimes solved in Gloucestershire – Gloucester Citizen

NEARLY 20,000 crimes have gone unsolved in Gloucestershire this year.

Of a total 26,316 offences committed in the county since January 1, just 6,652 have been cracked and seen someone brought to justice.

That means a detection rate of just over 25 per cent.

In Gloucester, 8,069 crimes have been committed this year, 2,421 of which have been solved.

More animals being rescued by the fire service (this time including hedgehogs) – Oxford Mail

YOU may think firefighters occasionally provide assistance to cats stuck in trees but local moggies are not the only animals rescued by firecrews.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out to bizarre incidents including a parrot stuck in a cage, a hamster in an oven and a horse stuck in manure.

In the last four years the service has rescued 181 animals – 53 pets, 28 farm animals and 15 birds – at a total cost of £33,800.

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