FOI Friday: Teachers causing concern, prisoners on Facebook, school place fraud and teenage career criminals

FOIFRIDAYLOGO

Teachers on the ‘concern list’ < Basildon Echo

ALMOST 170 teaching staff are on a council list showing there are concerns about their working in schools.

They are not barred from working, but schools will be aware of the list of concerns, compiled by Essex County Council.

A total of 23 teachers and 14 other school workers have been added to the list in the past five years due to allegations of a sexual nature, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Social networks in prison < Daily Record

PRISON bosses last year shut down 80 Facebook accounts run by inmates in Scotland.

The social networking pages were updated using smartphones smuggled into jails and have been used by convicts to taunt victims or contact fellow criminals.

Officials investigated 118 allegations in 2013 that prisoners were running accounts on Facebook from behind bars, freedom of information figures released yesterday revealed.

Caught defrauding the school selection process < Camden New Journal

FIVE children in Camden were removed from school or had offers of places withdrawn after their families were caught fiddling the state admissions system, the New Journal can reveal.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request, Camden Council confirmed it had conducted 11 investigations into potentially fraudulent school place applications between 2012 and 2013. It had opened only two similar probes over the previous two years.

A “fraudulent” application was defined as using a temporary address, using a family member’s address, faking religious observance or supplying false information on application forms.

Councils spending money on private investigators < WalesOnline

Cardiff Council has spent more than any other local authority in Wales on private investigators, WalesOnline can reveal.

Of all the councils who responded to a Freedom of Information request, Cardiff Council paid out the most to private investigators during the last two years.

In total, they spent £3,700 on a private investigator called P.G. Barlett, who acted for the council in 21 separate cases between April 2012 to April 2014.

A council spokesman said that this sum relates to the cost of “tracing individuals and serving legal notices on them personally.”

The £1,800-a-shift agency nurse < KentOnline

An agency nurse cost £1,800 for just one A&E shift in Kent, according to shocking figures.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust spent more than £4.7million to plug staff shortages between January and November 2013.

The results of a Freedom of Information Act request showed how spending on agency and locum staff had risen dramatically, by £1.6 million, in just two years.

Career schoolboy criminals < Liverpool Echo

A schoolboy aged just 15 is among Merseyside’s five most prolific crooks, a Sunday ECHO investigation today reveals.

The teenage yob, from Wirral, has been arrested 133 times by police – and been convicted by the courts 28 times.

He was today shamed on a list of our region’s five worst career criminals.

Big cats in Teesside < Teesside Evening Gazette

Pumas and panthers have made the North-east their prowling ground – if you believe the public.

Cleveland Police officers have looked into four reports of big cats on Teesside, according to details released under Freedom of Information laws.

The figure was among 102 such reports of black panther-like creatures spotted across the UK since 2011.

They range from a train driver near Stockton who saw a puma in a field from his cab, to a 14-year-old girl who reported seeing a “black panther” in Stillington.

The pain caused by air guns < Daily Post

A child scarred for life, a horse struck in the face and a bus driver under fire are among the long list of victims who have been shot by potentially deadly air weapons in North Wales.

In one particularly shocking “drive-by” incident, yobs reportedly pointed BB guns at bikers from their car although no shots were fired.

A Freedom of Information request by the Daily Post to North Wales Police has revealed 34 horrifying incidents involving air weapons during a 12-month period.

Food thefts soar during recessions < Harlow Star

THE spate of food thefts from shops and petrol filling stations in Harlow has been mirrored across the county, according to figures released by Essex Police.

Last year there were 2,752 incidents of people stealing food compared to 2,290 in 2012, an increase of about 20 per cent.

Harlow (39 per cent), along with Basildon (30 per cent) and Colchester (23 per cent), reported particularly high percentage increases. Topping the table was Southend with 44 per cent.

Children taking weapons to school < Wolverhampton Express and Star

Twelve children have been excluded from schools in Wolverhampton borough for going in with weapons including knives and fireworks, it was revealed today.

There have been 12 fixed-term exclusions in the borough after weapons were taken into schools – seven of the incidents involving a knife.

The city’s council was the only authority in the Black Country to hold such figures. Staffordshire County Council also said similar information was held by schools individually. In half of Wolverhampton’s cases, pupils took knives into school. In one incident, a pupil threatened another youngster with a knife.

Rising burglaries during the recession < Crawley Observer

Sussex Police records showed the number of burglaries in Crawley was predicted to rise for the fourth year in a row.

A Freedom of Information request revealed 718 burglaries were reported in the town – an average of more than two per day – from April 2013 to February 2014.

Police released the monthly breakdown of burglaries reported in Crawley from 2009 to February 2014 on Tuesday (April 1).

If the rate was to continue in March, the total for 2013/14 will have risen by more than 20 per cent from 2009/10 when 650 burglaries were reported in Crawley and mark the fourth consecutive annual rise in burglaries reported in the town since 2009.

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