FOI Friday: Unidentified bodies, chugging, bedroom tax costs and ambulance delays

How many unidentified bodies have been discovered by police? < Liverpool Echo

THE ECHO today explores the riddle of 11 mystery bodies that lay open on Merseyside Police’s files.

The unidentified bodies and body parts – dating back to 1972 – include a decomposed foot found in a trainer which washed up on Hightown beach ten years ago.

Despite DNA tests and public appeals, investigations to trace the families of those who died have proven fruitless.

Their details lie on Merseyside Police’s records with little realistic chance of ever being solved.

Four front pages generated by one FOI request from Trinity Mirror’s data unit

Which streets are most active for chugging? < Cambridge News

A bid to curtail swarms of persistent ‘chuggers’ who stop people in the street for charities is being upped out by Cambridge authorities.

Calls have been made to crackdown on the ‘swarming’ charity collectors who target shoppers in the city centre.

Currently the council only permits direct debit collections on Tuesdays and Thursdays in specific areas of the city.

A spokeswoman said the council was in the process of finalising an agreement with the PFRA on further measures.

The street most used by ‘chuggers’ are Sidney Street and Petty Cury in the city centre as well as Fitzroy Street and Burleigh Street near the Grafton shopping centre, according to data released using freedom of information laws.

When are fire brigades charging for call outs? < BBC West Midlands

West Midlands Fire Service charged for just 106 out of 3,656 non-emergency callouts since charges were introduced, a BBC Freedom of Information request has revealed.

In May 2012, the service began asking homeowners to cover the callout and attendance costs for problems like animal rescues and lock-outs.

The 106 charges totalled £57,355.24.

How much is the bedroom tax costing local councils? < Shropshire Star

Around £120,000 was paid out by Shropshire Council last year to hundreds of people struggling to pay their rent following the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax.

The total cost of these payments was £119,974.95.

The figures relate to Shropshire Council. Telford & Wrekin Council was unable to provide figures.

Are toddlers missing out on free education? < Liverpool Echo

Toddlers in St Helens and Sefton are set to miss out on a controversial new child care scheme.

Thousands of underprivileged two-year-olds across Merseyside are eligible for a free early education place as part of a national government initiative that comes into place this September.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed Sefton and St Helens councils haven’t secured enough places in nurseries for the youngsters.

But St Helens council says the main problem for them has been that too few parents have come forward to say they would like to take advantage of the free child care.

How many people actually get prosecuted for dropping litter? < Burton Mail

MORE than sixty litter louts have been caught out as council bosses get tough on protecting the environment.

In figures revealed to the Mail through a Freedom of Information request, 68 people were given written warnings for litter offences by South Derbyshire District Council over a two-year period.In that time seven fixed penalty notices have been issued, – two for offences in Hilton, two in Woodville and three in Swadlincote.

One statutory notice was issued for a litter-related incident in Swadlincote.

How many repeat offenders are turning up in court? < MayorWatch

London’s courts are having to deal with thousands of offenders who already have been convicted multiple times according to new statistics obtained by City Hall’s Conservative group.The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, show that 97,039 offenders with two or more previous convictions appeared in court over the past two years.Over a third of these had 10 or more previous convictions, while more than 60,000 had been convicted at least 6 times.

How many doctors and nurses have been sacked for not being good enough to do their jobs? < Southwark News

More than 100 staff have been fired from hospitals in Southwark over the last three years for not being capable of doing their jobs, the News can reveal.

Over 150 frontline staff in total were given the boot from Guy’s and St Thomas’s and King’s College hospitals. This number includes 30 nurses fired for their ‘capability’ along with a doctor and nine healthcare assistants, according to a Freedom of Information request response.

How much of a problem are blocked gullies < York Press

MORE than 50 gullies are blocked in York and require significant engineering work to tackle the problems.

A Freedom of Information request to City of York Council has revealed that it received 459 reports of blocked gullies in the last 18 months, and it took an average time of five and a half days to clear them.

It said there were 55 outstanding blocked gullies where significant engineering work would be required to remedy the problem.

How many cyclists are seriously injured every year? < Yorkshire Evening Post

The number of cyclists seriously injured on roads in Leeds has risen by nearly 50 per cent over the past 10 years, new figures show.

Data released by Leeds City Council under the Freedom of Information Act show that a total of 329 cyclists were injured in Leeds last year, up from 206 in 2004 – a rise of 60 per cent in a decade.

Of this number, 49 cyclists were left with serious injuries after accidents in the city in 2013.

And with more cyclists taking to the city’s roads than ever before, many fear this casualty list will continue to soar.

How many drug crimes are recorded in a year? < Glasgow Evening Times

MORE than 9000 drug-related crimes were recorded by police in Glasgow last year.

Figures released to the Evening Times under Freedom of Information legislation show that possession of drugs is the most common offence, accounting for 8108 reports to the fiscal.

There were 798 recorded crimes relating to the supply of drugs and 211 connected to their production, manufacture and cultivation.

However, not one crime concerning the illegal importation of drugs was recorded by police.

Are thieves stealing stone instead of metal now? < Lancashire Telegraph

METAL theft in East Lancashire has tumbled dramatically, new figures revealed.

The number of thefts reported to the police has fallen from 1,819 in 2011 to 1,017 last year, police data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed.

However, the number of stone thefts in the same period has tripled, from 71 to 213, sparking fears criminals put off metal theft by strict new legislation are changing tact.

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