FOI Friday: Saying sorry to dodge court, parents smacking children, arsonists wanting to work in schools and the safety of bail hostels


Saying sorry to get away with violent crimes < Eastern Daily Press

Fears over the misuse of restorative justice measures have been raised after the revelation that Norfolk Police have used informal agreements to deal with more than 7,000 crimes since 2010 – including almost 3,000 violent offences.

The measures can be used by officers instead of prosecutions and can include an apology or compensation to the victim. The resolutions were introduced in order to cut down on police red tape, and prevent the criminalisation of young people.

Figures gained following a Freedom of Information request by the EDP show “community resolutions” – which involve the victims of crime – have been used in 4,362 cases since 2010, and “extended professional judgement” – which are settled just by officers – 3,205 times in the same period.

People reported to the police for smacking their own children < Exeter Express and Echo

More than 100 parents across Devon and Cornwall have been reported to the police for smacking their child over the last five years.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information Act request reveal a dramatic rise in the number of smacking reports last year, up from 17 in 2012 to 43 in 2013.

Devon and Cornwall Police say this spike could be due to “enhanced awareness” of the issues surrounding smacking.

A search of the force’s database revealed 108 crime logs relating to a biological parent smacking a child aged 17 or under between January 2009 and February 2014.

Thieves and arsonists caught applying for jobs in schools < The Lincolnite

Theft, assault on a child, arson and assault with bodily harm were among the crimes flagged up by Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS) on people applying to work in Lincoln schools.

According to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Request by The Lincolnite, a total of 85 convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands were highlighted by DBS checks requested by Lincoln schools in the last four years.

The crimes recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) were released on certificates where individuals applied for jobs at educational institutions in the postal areas LN1 to LN6.

Fewer cyclists in accidents, but more seriously injured < Manchester Evening News

Serious injuries suffered by cyclists in Greater Manchester have risen by 23 per cent over the last decade.

The rise is despite a 30 per cent fall in collisions involving bikes, according to statistics released by Greater Manchester Police under the Freedom of Information Act.

There were 90 serious injuries in 2013, compared with 74 in 2004, while the number of collisions involving bikes fell from 804 in 2004 to 562 in 2013.

A serious injury is defined as anything more serious than sprains, bruising or cuts not judged to be severe.

Most likely places police will be called to < Bradford Telegraph and Argus

The district’s top ten crime hotspots and places officers are called to most often have been revealed by West Yorkshire Police.

Bradford Royal Infirmary tops the list for calls for help, with officers requested 517 times last year and the majority of calls about public safety or welfare.

And the place where most non-residential crimes were recorded last year was the Tesco Peel Centre superstore on Valley Road.

But West Yorkshire Police say incident levels are falling – in some cases bucking a national trend of increased shoplifting – because of work done by officers to tackle the root cause of problems.

How dangerous are criminals at a bail hostel? < Crewe Chronicle

A total of 120 convicted sex attackers have been housed at the  controversial Linden Bank bail  hostel in the past three years – and  13 have gone on to re-offend.

The figures, released following a Freedom of Information request by the  Chronicle, reveal 120 sex offenders have  stayed at the hostel between January  2011 and February this year, living just  yards away from several schools and a  children’s playground.

A total of 13 have gone on to commit  further crimes, while 25 have breached  the conditions of their licence.

Unpaid council tax going back 12 years < Plymouth Herald

A LOCAL council is owed more than £14million in unpaid council tax, stretching back more than a decade, new figures have shown.

And the figures also revealed that bailiffs were also called in thousands of times to collect unpaid tax on behalf of Cornwall Council.

The data, released under the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act, showed that since 1999, the total amount of council tax arrears in Cornwall stands at £14,632,072.20.

The figures include all unpaid council tax from 1999/2000 to 2013/14, and also include £22,003.10 relating to pre 1999.

The council said it was “continuing to take action to collect the arrears owed”.

10,000 police call outs to hospitals < Manchester Evening News

POLICE are being called out to our hospitals a shocking 10,000 times a year, the M.E.N. can reveal.

A Freedom of Information request has uncovered the staggering array of incidents reported on and around our NHS wards – from escaped prisoners to gunmen and loose animals.

Hundreds of wanted people have been traced to hospitals, including convicts who have broken their court orders and suspects in breach of bail restrictions.

They also include more than 800 assaults, leading to a stark warning from crime and health chiefs – who insist attacks on NHS staff will not be tolerated.

Crimes committed by gangs < Barking and Dagenham Post

Nearly 200 violent crimes – including murder, sexual assault, kidnap and robbery – were committed by gang members in Barking and Dagenham over the last three years, the Post can reveal.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show the youngest gang member convicted of an offence in the borough in that time was just 11.

Fourteen violent crimes were committed by gang members in September 2011 – the highest number in a single month during the last three years – including assaulting a police officer, possessing a knife, occasioning grievous bodily harm with a weapon and intimidating a witness.

More private ambulances in use < Yorkshire Evening Post

RISING demand has led to spending on private ambulances in Yorkshire soaring by 267 per cent in less than three years.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service paid private firms £2.8m in nine months out of the 12 in 2013 – up from £782,000 from April 2011/12.

The number of incidents non-NHS ambulances were sent to annually rocketed by more than 1,000 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

Nearly 20,000 calls in total were responded to by private firms over that time.

3,500 reports of children missing from care homes in Merseyside < Liverpool Echo

More than 3,500 children have been reported missing from care homes to Merseyside police in the past three years.

Figures obtained by the ECHO show that on average three children living in care across the region are reported missing to the emergency services every single day.

And with dozens falling victim to crimes – including sexual assault – child protection experts are warning more needs to be done to address the problem.

How many times to pass your driving test? < Somerset County Gazette

A 23-year-old man finally passed his practical test at the 18th time of asking last year in an ordeal which could have cost £2,016 based on 18 exams costing £62 each and a further £50 on two lessons between each exam.

His wallet could have been dented even further if he spent £1,250 on 50 lessons at £25 – the average number of lessons taken by a learner driver before their test, according to the AA.

Currently, drivers from Chard and Ilminster have to travel to Taunton or Yeovil to take their practical test.

A Freedom of Information Request to the Driving Standards Agency revealed the top ten longest attempts to pass a practical car driving test at the Taunton test centre between January, 2009, and January, 2014.



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