FOI Friday: Full cemeteries, unsolved crimes, snooping coppers and accidents at theme parks

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The social care crisis for councils < The Herald

Councils face a mounting crisis with thousands of disabled people unable to meet their bills for social and personal care.

According to figures obtained by The Herald, more than 14,000 people facing bills for personal and social care are in arrears.

Campaigners say the levels struggling to pay now rival those when the organised campaign of Poll Tax non-payment was at its height.

The problem for councils is how they can begin to claw back money from some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The police warnings to people who could be at risk of death < Daily Record

POLICE warned 439 people in Scotland that they were at risk of murder over the last two years.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws revealed the number of Threat to Life Warning Notices – known as Osman letters.

The warnings are issued to potential targets when police officers discover that someone wants to harm them but do not have enough evidence to make an arrest.

Accidents at theme parks < Burton Mail

A TOTAL of 32 accidents have been logged at Alton Towers in the last three years.

A woman was taken to hospital for checks after hearing her “neck crack” while riding the 60mph Rita ride in May 2013.

Other incidents saw a 13-year-old taken to hospital after hitting her head in the ‘scare maze’ when she was surprised by a performer.

She was “pushed into a wall by friends” after the shock, which resulted in her being taken to hospital with a cut in April 2013.

The Health and Safety Executive released details of 32 incidents logged over the three years, covering accidents and “dangerous occurrences”.

Animals used in experiments < Evening Times, Glasgow

MORE than 55,000 animals have been used in experiments at universities in Glasgow in a year, according to new figures.

The details were revealed in a Freedom of Information request this month which showed the vast proportion were used at Glasgow University in medical testing and research.

The university stressed the animals – including 50,488 rodents, 3,272 fish and 763 birds – were used only when there was no other alternative.

Children in care moved miles away from their communities < Manchester Evening News (via Children’s Society)

Hundreds of children in care in Greater Manchester are being moved to new homes up to 30 miles away from their local communities.

In a report, the Children’s Society, says young people have been left isolated, with some forced to switch schools after being uprooted from family and friends.

More than a fifth of those moved were only told the day before, according to the charity.

Some are moved for their own safety, as they are at risk of abuse or neglect, but in other cases their local councils are unable to find places closer to home.

Out of 5,122 children in care in the region in September 2014, almost 2,000 – nearly four in ten – had been placed outside their local authority area, according to figures released to the charity under Freedom of Information requests.

Staff turnover in hospitals < Southend Standard

SOUTHEND Hospital says it is doing all it can to stem a high turnover of medical staff after it was revealed 84 doctors had left in the past two years.

The figure is a rise on the two years prior to that when 61 junior and senior doctors left the trust.

In recent years the hospital has struggled to recruit doctors, especially in stressful and highly specialised areas such as A&E, and so has relied on filling gaps with costly agency staff.

What do councils own and run? < MK Web (Via the Taxpayers Alliance)

Councils own a portfolio of properties that includes 378 pubs, 259 theatres, 407 golf courses and 2,586 farms, it was revealed today.

More bizarre holdings include Thanet in Kent’s wet fish stall and Dumfries and Galloway’s cheese factory.

Freedom of Information requests also found Harlow owned Seen, described as “Essex’s most sophisticated clubbing destination”.

Taxpayers’ Alliance chief Jonathan Isaby said: “What business does a council have owning a nightclub?

How long are crimes investigated for? < Bristol Post

Less than one per cent of unsolved crimes reported to Avon and Somerset Police in 2013 are still being investigated.

Of the 61,821 undetected crimes from that year, just 206 – the equivalent of 0.03 per cent – are currently under investigation by officers.

The unsolved crimes include more than 10,000 reports of violence, nearly 9,000 burglaries, 11,700 incidents of criminal damage, 573 robberies, 867 sexual offences, 516 arsons and nearly 28,000 reports of thefts and handling stolen goods.

The figures come from a year when 96,308 crimes were reported to police across the force area.

Hate crime against Muslins rising < Get WestLondon

The number of hate crimes against Muslims reported to the Metropolitan Police has more than doubled in the last year.

According to Freedom of Information requests collated by Trinity Mirror’s data team, the number of hate crimes – recorded by the police force in London as either Islamophobic or that mention Muslim or Islam – was 80 in January 2015, up from 36 in January 2014 and 22 in January 2013.

Across west London boroughs, the figures were 25 in 2015, 13 in 2014 and seven in 2013.

The rise may be part of a general upward trend or better recording, as more police forces add an Islamophobic flag to their system. However, the increase may also be a spike in incidents following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in early January this year.

Police snooping < Express and Star (via BigBrotherWatch)

West Midlands Police intercepted people’s phone, email and internet records nearly 100,000 times in three years using controversial snooping powers – the second highest in the country.

The figures, released to anti-surveillance pressure group Big Brother Watch under Freedom of Information laws, found there were more than 730,000 requests for communications data between 2012 and 2014 from forces across the UK.

West Midlands Police – the country’s second largest force – used powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 98,095 times during the three-year period.

How soon until graveyards are full? < Get WestLondon

Cemeteries in parts of west London could be full within 20 years.

Getwestlondon‘s specialist data unit sent Freedom of Information requests to borough councils asking them to provide details of capacity in their graveyards.

Brent Council said its Alperton and Willesden New cemeteries could run out of room within the next couple of years.

Paddington Old cemetery is already closed to new burials, which leaves Carpenders Park, which is actually in Watford but managed by Brent.

Students caught cheating < Liverpool Echo

HUNDREDS of students at Liverpool John Moores University have been caught cheating, the ECHO can reveal.

Figures show that more than 300 students tried to con lecturers over the past two full academic years.

The majority were penalised with marks deducted from their degrees but in some cases the students were expelled because their cheating was considered so serious.

Councils selling off buildings < Surrey Mirror

COUNCILS in East Surrey have made more than £14 million in the past six years from selling off assets.

 Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council have sold off more than 40 buildings and eight areas of publicly owned land – including parts of a school site – since 2009.

The biggest payment was received by Reigate and Banstead in 2012 when it was paid £1.9 million for The Market Hotel in High Street, Reigate.

One comment

  1. It’s great that you included the Animal experimentation FoI – so many innocent little dead bodies! The public must know not to support those who kill them, which includes the British HeartLESS Foundation and Cancer Research..

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