FOI Friday: Air gun attacks, stressed out students, pauper funerals and troubled families


Bedroom tax rent arrears < Wolverhampton Express and Star

Out of 3,803 Sandwell people affected by the removal of the Government’s spare room subsidy, 2,432 have now fallen into rent arrears.

But the Labour-led council has not yet evicted anyone for falling into arrears as a result of what has become widely known as the bedroom tax.

The numbers of people in arrears and affected by the policy were revealed under the Freedom of Information Act after a request by a member of the public.

Troubled families < Brighton Argus

Nearly 1,000 problem families have been identified in Brighton and Hove since the launch of a Government scheme nearly two years ago.

The Troubled Families programme was launched as part of a scheme to get children off the streets and to help families get back into work.

According to a Freedom of Information request, the city council has identified 963 “troubled families” in Brighton and Hove and has so far “turned around” 317 of these.

Prisoners in your area < Daily Post

More than a third of all North Wales prisoners are from a single county, latest figures reveal.

There are a total of 857 from the region behind bars at prisons in England and Wales – 308 of which originate  from Flintshire.

The county also has the third highest number in Wales  – beaten only by Cardiff and Swansea.

The next highest in North Wales is Gwynedd with 163 prisoners followed by Wrexham (129), Conwy (118), Denbighshire (90) and Anglesey (49).

The figures, based on data up to December 31 last year, have been released following a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice.

Pauper funerals rise < Plymouth Herald

THE number of people given a “pauper’s funeral” has doubled in the South West over the past five years.

In total 431 families turned to the state to pay towards burying loved ones in 2013 in the six counties of the region, compared to 213 in 2009.

The figures are based on responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from 28 of 37 South West councils.

Public subsidising gun licences < Exeter Express and Echo

Exeter residents are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to subsidise Devon gun owners.

At the same time as Devon and Cornwall Police is forced to make savings that cut into front line policing, it has to spend millions on processing gun licenses.

But the police receive a relatively small income from the job – leaving taxpayers to subsidise gun owners who have enjoyed a 13-year freeze on firearms fees

Largely because of its rural nature, Devon and Cornwall have the highest gun ownership levels in the UK with around 100,000 licensed guns.

Now a Freedom of Information request to Devon and Cornwall Police has revealed that in the year up to March 31 2012, the total cost to Devon and Cornwall Police of running firearms licensing was £1,252,332 – with income of only £446,170.

One speeding driver every eight minutes < Newcastle Chronicle

One driver every eight minutes broke the speed limit on one of Tyneside’s busiest roads in a two month period.

A mobile camera van on the A1 Western Bypass, in Gateshead, has caught 15,468 drivers – costing each one at least £60 – since September last year.

The speed on the stretch of road from the Angel of the North to the A184 junction was reduced from 70mph to 50mph around four years ago.

And the shock figures – released after a Freedom of Information request – show that in two months 10,963 drivers were caught breaking the law.

Stressed out students < The Board (Warwick University)

The number of students approaching University of Warwick Student Support Services has nearly doubled over the last five years, a Freedom of Information request to the University has revealed. With essay deadlines, job/internship applications and exam revision all clamouring for students’ attention in term three, it is the busiest time for the services.

Exactly 844 students accessed University counselling and mental health services in the academic year 2008/09, a number that has nearly doubled to 1,466 in the year 2012/13. According to these figures, approximately 1 in every 16 students sought face-to-face counselling from the University last year.

Air gun attacks < 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.

Between February 2013-14 the  most shootings occurred in Wrexham with 10 incidents recorded by  officers, followed by seven in  Flintshire and Conwy, six in  Gwynedd and four in Denbighshire.


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