FOI Friday: Nightmare roadwork roads, self service checkout crimes, cost of PFI and student disciplinary offences


The roads dug up more than 600 times in a year < Birmingham Mail

Road repairs in Birmingham are causing traffic chaos with some routes being dug up almost every day for the past FIVE years, the Birmingham Mail can reveal.

Workmen have had to carry out maintenance on Birmingham’s Broad Street three times a week since 2009. The entertainment district – known as the Golden Mile – has been dug up an astonishing 684 times.

Yet it is not the most repaired road in the city.

Crime caused by self-service checkouts < Sunderland Echo

FORGETFUL shoppers are turning other wise law-abiding citizens into criminals after it was revealed that cash-back worth £1,260 was stolen from self-service tills in Sunderland in the last three years.

Figures obtained by the Echo via a freedom of information request to Northumbria Police, show thefts are going up year-on-year in line with the increase of popularity of automated systems in supermarkets.

But police say many people do not realise that pocketing cash accidentally left behind at self-service checkouts is theft and will be treated as such. And those caught on CCTV can often find themselves appearing in newspapers and online as part of crime appeals.

Forty-seven thefts of cashback were reported between April 2011 and March this year within Sunderland Area Command, after being left at self-service tills. Thirteen thefts were recorded in 2011/12, increasing to 16, in 2012/13 and 18 in the last financial year.

Youngest fire-arm offenders < Cambridge Evening News

A boy aged just 11 is now the youngest person in Cambridgeshire to be arrested over a firearms offences, shock data has revealed.

Information released by the Cambridgeshire force has also uncovered the youngest children arrested over drugs and sex crimes.

The youngest children arrested over sex offences are two boys aged just 10 years old.

One boy was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman and another was arrested over the rape of another boy aged under 13 years old. Both were given a reprimand and no further action was taken.

Things councils buy on credit cards < Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser

ARGOS, Amazon, Prezzo, the iTunes store and John Lewis are just some of the places that officers at Mole Valley District Council have used taxpayer-funded credit cards in the past three years.

More than £70,000 has been spent using the cards since 2011, according to information provided by the council, with items ranging from food and drink to iPhone apps and accessories to Christmas decorations.

The use of credit cards, or charge cards, is common in local government.

Disciplinary offences dealt with by universities < Wolverhampton Express and Star

Nearly 2,000 students at Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Birmingham City, Staffordshire, and Aston universities have faced disciplinary action since 2009.

The cases include cheating in exams, fraud, harassment, and assault. One student at Aston was disciplined for stealing a carton of milk from a milk float on campus and another for burning incense in his room.

Birmingham City University handed out the most punishments with 825 over the period.

Reasons police officers are arrested < Shropshire Star

Twenty two West Mercia Police officers have been arrested in the last two years, new figures reveal today.

The figures, which were revealed by a Freedom of Information Request submitted by the Shropshire Star, show of the 22 arrested, 10 were charged and four were convicted.

No further criminal proceedings were pursued in the other cases. So far this year two officers have been arrested – one for criminal damage to property valued under £5,000. He wascharged and found not guilty.

The other officer was arrested for driving over the alcohol level limit. No charges were brought but the officer was given a final written warning.

The unusual treatments funded by the NHS < Essex Chronicle

TAXPAYERS footed the bill for NHS-funded Botox treatment, cosmetic ear surgery and denture implants in mid-Essex during the past two years, figures reveal.

Records released by the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (MECCG), which commissions services on behalf of NHS England, also show, however, that it refused to fund art therapy and scar revision.

The authority passed over details of all the 25 applications to its Exceptional Cases Panel during August 2012-14 following a Chronicle Freedom of Information Act request.

A patient can take their case to the panel, made up of clinicians, if their initial appeal to the CCG is turned down.

 Pet bites in hospitals < Carlisle News and Star

Hospital medics in north Cumbria have faced a flood of patients bitten by their pets, with more than 18,000 treated over the last five years.

The staggering statistic has been revealed by the NHS trust which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.

While the benefits of pet ownership are well documented, the figures – released in response to a Freedom of Information request – show the potential dangers.

The number of dog bite patients was 9,898, but the next most dangerous pets were rats, with the two hospitals treating 8,326 bite injuries from the rodents in five years.

The last financial year saw the lowest number of rat bites – 999, compared with 1,911 the previous year.

The cost of servicing PFI hospital debt < Nottingham Post

Repaying debts at King’s Mill Hospital is costing £3.29 million a month, figures have revealed.

And the total cost of building the hospital will be £2.5 billion by the time the debt has been repaid.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust signed a £302 million Private Finance Initiative deal in November 2005 to rebuild King’s Mill, Sutton-in-Ashfield, as the former building was no longer fit for use.

The figures were revealed by the Trust under the Freedom of Information Act.

The foreign drivers getting away with criminal offences < Nottingham Post

MORE than 1,400 speeding drivers got away with their crimes last year in Nottinghamshire as they were driving on foreign numberplates.

The worst offence was a driver caught going 83mph in a 50mph zone on the A1 in Elkesley.

The information was revealed by Nottinghamshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act following research from the Institute of Advances Motorists and showed that 1,423 drivers escaped fines in the county.

Road safety charity IAM also found that 23,295 drivers escaped fines nationally – the equivalent of £2.3 million worth of speeding tickets.

Hospital bed-blocking costs < Lincolnshire Echo

Lincoln County Hospital is recruiting staff to combat bed-blocking patients after new data showed the bill for them had hit £2.5 million.

More than 7,500 patients at Lincoln County Hospital stayed in a bed longer than was needed during the last two and a half years, figures obtained by the Echo under the Freedom of Information Act show.

The hospital racked-up a bill of more than £1.4 million between 2012 and 2014 by keeping patients in hospital when they were ready to leave.

And between April and August this year, the hospital has already racked up a £486,806 bill from 1,812 ‘delayed days’, where a patient who was fit to be discharged was still taking up a bed.

The number of active child sex abuse investigations < Cambridge News

The Jimmy Savile effect has ramped up the number of child sex abuse allegations in the Cambridge area with almost 100 investigations being conducted right now.

The Cambridgeshire force currently has 90 live investigations into the sexual abuse of children, it has been revealed using freedom of information laws.

And the number of arrests related to child sexual abuse in the county rose by 38 per cent over the course of a year.

Most dangerous roads for cyclists < Manchester Evening News

Wilmslow road and The Curry Mile has been named as a blackspot for Greater Manchester’s cyclists, with the highest number of collisions in the city.

Junctions along the road, a popular route for workers and students, occupy the top four spots in a new list of Greater Manchester’s most dangerous roads.

Bury New Road, Oxford Road and Bolton Road also feature highly in figures given by police to the M.E.N. under Freedom of Information laws.


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