FOI FRIDAY: Jail smuggling, brand conscious police, cost-saving consultants and golden hellos for paramedics

FOIFRIDAYLOGO

‘Golden Hellos’ for new paramedics < Eastern Daily Press

The East of England Ambulance Service paid the incentives to 59 qualified paramedics in 2013 to try and resolve the organisation’s staff shortage. However, five of the new recruits had to repay the £2,000 golden hello payments after leaving the trust, according to new figures.

The NHS trust, which launched a recruitment campaign last year to hire 231 paramedics and specialist paramedics, paid £106,909 in golden hello payments last year, according to figures from a freedom of information request by the EDP.

The cost of spin < Thame Gazette

Cashstrapped Bucks County Council spends £720,000 a year on an army of public relations gurus.

The authority, which has downgraded libraries and cut cash to daycare centres, held on to funding for 21 communications roles this year.

Last year the council spent a further £45,911 on internal and external newsletters.

Figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, form part of revelations that Vale ratepayers are spending more than £2million a year on PR roles.

Does restorative justice work < Windsor and Maidenhead Advertiser

Almost a third of offenders given restorative disposals went on to commit another crime.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that 1,202 people in Windsor and Maidenhead were given restorative disposals between 2009, when they were first introduced by Thames Valley Police, and 2013.

Of these 339 reoffended.

1,800 complaints … 99 penalties issued < Bolton News

DOG fouling across Bolton has led to almost 1,800 complaints about the amount of mess left on the town’s paths and parks.

New figures show residents rang the council 1,795 times between 2009 and 2013 to complain about the issue.

The data, revealed after a Freedom of Information request, also showed 99 fixed penalty notices of £75 have been given to dog owners caught not cleaning up their pet’s mess, while 11 people were successfully prosecuted — facing fines of up to £1,000.

The booze taxis < Brighton Argus

Emergency ambulances are sent out to help drunk people in Sussex in every one hour-and-20 minute spell, shocking new figures show.

Over a 12-month period, paramedics were called out more than 20 times a day to deal with drunks in the county.

This included 48 people who were so drunk on Christmas Day in 2012 that they required an emergency ambulance.

Worst city centre restaurants, bars and hotels for police call outs < Manchester Confidential

EACH year Confidential uses the Freedom of Information Act to ask Greater Manchester Police for a list containing the complete call-out figures across the city centre for all bars, clubs, restaurants and food and beverage venues (operating under A1 planning permission) from 1 January–31 December of the previous year.

It’s been another bad year for Fac251 on Princess Street (243), Tiger Tiger at the Printworks (238) and 5th Ave on Princess Street (219).

Finding the stories in the fines < Wirral Globe

MORE parking tickets were handed out to motorists parked in a Wirral bus stop than to those parked on pedestrian crossings and yellow zig zags.

Wirral Council’s CCTV spy, which is used to catch motorists parked illegally, caught a total of 407 cars on Seaview Road, Liscard, between November 2011 and October 2013.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that of those 407 tickets, 337 were handed out for parking on a restricted bus stop or stand, earning the council £11, 632.50 in parking fines.

What gets smuggled into jails? < Oxford Mail

PRISONERS have been caught trying to make their own “hooch” six times at an Oxfordshire jail.

The attempts to ferment liquid or suspected hooch were confiscated by Bullingdon Prison from 2010 to 2013. They were among 244 illegal items recovered from the prison, in Arncott, near Bicester, figures obtained by the Oxford Mail show.

Items seized included 87 mobile phones, along with SIM cards, top- up cards, chargers and “improvised” batteries.

Police force builds up its brands < Reading Post

Nearly £35,000 has been spent on Thames Valley Police branded items in the past three years.

More than £12,000 was spent on pens, pencils and branded bug stickers between March 2010 and March 2013, the most spent on three items, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Before the start of 2010, Thames Valley Police did not have a code for this type of purchase, but when the code was introduced, a massive £21,709 was spent on Thames Valley Police-branded items between April 2010 and March 2011.

The cost of saving money < Basildon Echo

BASILDON Council spent more than £720,000 on consultants… to help it work out how to save cash.

Horrified opposition councillors and campaigners hit out at a “gravy train” culture at the Tory authority.

The council defended the move saying the big spend on the council’s so-called Transformation Agenda had put the authority on track to save £4.4million.

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