FOI Friday: Suspects released by mistake, crimes in hospitals, careless coppers and big pay outs for teachers

FOIFRIDAYLOGOWrongly-released offenders < Manchester Evening News

A sex offender, violent thugs and burglars are among a long list of charged suspects released without trial because of blunders by Greater Manchester Police.

Dozens of charged suspects walked free over the last six years before they reached trial – with more this year than any of the previous five – after officers breached their own rules.

Officers must follow the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) after making an arrest – a code they are taught during their basic training.

PACE covers police powers and procedures, including instructions on how to treat suspects once they have been charged with an offence.

But on 55 occasions, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers failed to follow PACE, leading to a suspected sex offender, 15 alleged violent thugs, and 39 other would-be criminals getting off without a trial between 2008 and 2013.

Universities disclosing student info to police < Carlisle News and Star

The University of Cumbria has passed on the personal details of more than 20 students to police over the last three academic years, new figures reveal.

The latest available information shows that the university disclosed details of 25 of its students to officers carrying out formal investigations between 2010 and 2013.

Four related to investigations relating to theft or damage, eight for sexual or violent crimes and 10 where a student was a potential witness or victim of crime.

Three did not have sufficient details to be categorised, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Crimes in hospitals < Brighton Argus

Assaults, racial abuse, criminal damage and arson are among scores of crimes reported at hospitals across Sussex.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed Sussex Police were called to investigate 241 incidents in one year.

Other allegations included sexual assault and possession of a weapon.

The most common call outs were for theft, public order offences and common assault.

Hospitals on black alert < Milton Keynes News

MILTON Keynes Hospital has been on black alert on 15 occasions between November 2013 and February 2014.

Black alert is usually as a result of a high number of emergency patients causing a crippling shortage of bed space.

Black alert is the highest possible level of crisis put in place in hospitals, and is one step up from the serious red alert.

The information was highlighted in Labour’s Freedom of Information Request (FOI) on A&E pressures in the UK.

Unpopular books < Get Reading

Some of Bracknell’s libraries most unpopular books have not been read in more than 20 years, according to a list of the borough’s least borrowed reads.

A guide to Eric Clapton’s music, the history of the ammunitions market, children’s encyclopedias and Kingsize Hamburger Joke Book are among the most unpopular paper and hardbacks revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The results detailed the 10 books which have not been checked out for the longest amount of time from each of the borough’s nine libraries, revealing 52 of the 90 least popular books are children’s non-fiction.

Mobile phone prosecutions falls < Lancashire Telegraph

THE number of motorists in East Lancashire fined for using their mobile phone behind the wheel has plummeted, according to new figures.

Police in the Eastern and Pennine divisions, which cover the area between them, handed out fixed penalty notices to just 1,145 motorists last year. That’s almost half the 2,185 who were caught using their phone illegally in 2010/11, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.

In Pennine, which covers Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, the number of fines dropped from 1,132 fines in 2010/12 to 564 in 2012/13, and in Eastern, which covers Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, the number of fines went down from 1,053 to 581.

Careless police < Liverpool Echo

Merseyside police officers have lost at least £35,000-worth of equipment in the last three years, the ECHO can reveal.

Staff have misplaced more than 300 pieces of  kit, including nearly  100 telescopic batons, 42 canisters of pepper spray and 90 pairs of handcuffs.

The shocking list of missing items, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, also includes four lost sets of complete body armour and more than a dozen missing police phones.

The most expensive was a “nine-foot stop stick”, used by police to puncture car tyres in high-speed chases, two of which had to be replaced at a cost of £565 each.

Racist incidents in schools < Newcastle Chronicle

Exclusions for racial misconduct in Newcastle schools have increased by nearly 60% this academic year – even with one term still remaining.

Since September last year there have been 22 pupils temporarily excluded, and 50 in the last three academic years – 15 in 2011/12 and 13 in 2012/13.

The youngest children suspended for racism were two in Year 5, which means they could have been as young as nine.

Compensation payouts for teachers < Birmingham Mail

A Birmingham teacher won a £100,000 payout after being injured breaking up a playground fight.

The huge payout was among a host of school-based claims which cost the city council more than £1 million in the last five years, the Mail can reveal.

The unidentified teacher picked up £113,905 following the brawl, which took place in the current school year.

The sum was almost three times as much as next largest payout.

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