FOI Friday: Teachers ignoring FGM advice, fines for school parking, food shoplifting and hospital repairs backlogs


Teachers ignoring FGM guidance < London Evening Standard

Less than half of headteachers in London have read official guidance on stopping female genital mutilation, new figures revealed today.
The guidance, which tells teachers how to identify girls who are at risk or who have suffered mutilation, was emailed to every school in the country. But data from the Department for Education shows that only 56 per cent of heads in the capital even opened the email after it was sent to them by Education Secretary Michael Gove last month. An even lower proportion — 45 per cent — then “clicked through” to read the guidance , meaning that headteachers in 1,724 London schools have ignored the effort to prevent the abuse.

Parents targeted with fines for bad parking near schools < Birmingham Mail

Birmingham City Council has declared war on selfish parents blocking roads around schools by handing out almost £140,000 in fines in a year. The major crackdown saw increasing numbers of mums and dads caught flouting parking laws after the council deployed surveillance camera vans. Last year 1,974 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were dished out – a 25 per cent rise on the previous 12 months. The crackdown followed concerns about the rising tide of potentially dangerous parking around school times. Some areas are brought to a standstill by the huge numbers of parents leaving their vehicles on verges, blocking drives and even parking over zigzag road lines next to school gates.

Compensation claims for wrongful arrests and other things < Plymouth Herald

DEVON and Cornwall Police has paid out more than £1.3 million in compensation to members of the public over the last four years. Since 2009 a total of 460 claims have been made following incidents including collisions involving police vehicles, unlawful detention, wrongful arrest, negligence and bites by police dogs. The force has also had to pay out for successful claims for harassment, bullying, damage to property, defamation, use of excessive force and unlawful seizure. There was also one successful claim, resulting in a £500 payout, for ‘misfeasance in public office’.

Food shoplifting rises in Tunbridge Wells < BBC

The number of cases of food shoplifting in Kent increased by 15% last year, according to police figures.

Across the county there were 3,110 thefts, compared to 2,699 in 2012. The highest rise was in Swale with 62%, followed by Tunbridge Wells with 44% and Thanet with 38%. The highest number of offences was in the Medway area.

£50m repairs backlog at hospital < Brighton Argus

Hospitals across Sussex are struggling to clear a backlog of repairs of almost £50 million. Patients are potentially being put at risk because of outstanding maintenance work to buildings. Some repairs are classed as urgent as they have a high or significant risk of affecting patient care. This includes leaking roofs, ageing electric cables, damaged vinyl floor coverings, replacement fire doors, fixing cracked skylights and replacing out of date ventilation units.

56 people banned from libraries < Portsmouth News

MORE than 50 people have been banned from libraries in the area for violent and threatening behaviour. Gosport Discovery Centre proved to have the rowdiest readers, with 14 bans made between 2011 and 2013. Fareham Library handed down seven bans in the same period, while Leigh Park Library gave six. The 56 bans were revealed by Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council after a Freedom of Information request from The News.

Stolen animals < Teesside Evening Gazette

A micro-pig snatched from a leisure farm was among almost 250 animals stolen in the Cleveland Police area last year. The four-day-old piglet was taken from Newham Grange Leisure Farm in Coulby Newham last March. It was left on the doorstep of a house in New Marske and later died . In response to a Freedom of Information request, Cleveland Police said 249 animals had been registered as stolen in 2013. They included 60 fish, 48 pigeons, 30 other birds and 19 dogs.

Near misses at airports < Manchester Evening News

A passenger plane bound for Manchester was just seconds from colliding with another flight. The Airbus A319 banked to the left after a A320, which was flying to Manchester, descended into its path in February last year. The pilot of the Dublin-bound A319 assessed the collision ‘risk as high’, documents released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show, when the planes’ paths crossed near Brecon. Both were 100ft away vertically, and 2.4 nautical miles away horizontally. The Manchester-bound pilot assessed the risk as “low”. The safe vertical distance for planes is 1000ft. Details of the incident emerged in a Freedom of Information request which showed planes heading towards and leaving Manchester Airport have been involved in 14 near-misses in the last three years, including two incidents where Boeing passenger planes and helicopters came too close to each other.

Waiting more than an hour for an ambulancs < Wrexham Leader

MORE than 2,000 people who called an ambulance in Flintshire and Wrexham last year had to wait more than an hour for one to arrive. Delays in ambulance ‘first responses’ in the region were revealed in new figures released yesterday. ‘First responses’ to call-outs – the time between the emergency call and the first ambulance service presence arriving on the scene – took more than an hour on just over 2,000 occasions in the two counties in 2013. The figures relate to the time taken for any Ambulance Service personnel to arrive on the scene, and not necessarily an emergency ambulance. The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives, show that 1,075 ‘first response’ arrivals took more than an hour in Flintshire, with the figure standing at 929 in Wrexham.

Car park overpayments < Wokingham Times

Shoppers suffering from a lack of change when parking in the borough’s car parks have helped the council rake in £120,000 in the last three years. Figures released in a Freedom of Information request revealed Wokingham Borough Council made £120,952 from drivers not having the exact coins to pay for parking in its car parks. However council officials claim shoppers have alternative ways to pay for parking, including via a mobile phone, and the council has no plans to change the system or install machines that give change around the borough


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