FOI Friday: 10 stories waiting to be uncovered near you


An increasingly infrequent look at stories being made possible thanks to FOI

£120,000 of fines for parking in disabled bays < Shropshire Star

Drivers have been fined more than £120,000 by Shropshire Council in the last three years for parking in disabled spaces without a blue badge.

Falling numbers of retained firefighters < BBC

The number of retained firefighters across Wales has hit a nine-year low, figures have shown.

The costs for staff of parking at hospitals < Coventry Telegraph

Staff at University Hospital are are having to pay almost £500 a year just to park at work, new figures have revealed.

What the police sold on ebay < Chester Chronicle

Cheshire Constabulary has been an active presence on eBay for six years now, selling crooks’ assets to raise money for victims of crime – but a balaclava sale has to be one of its more intriguing transactions.

The force flogged the unusual black Karrimor garment to a savvy shopper for the bargain price of 50p in March 2016.

How much have councils ‘wasted’ on electric cars they rarely use? < Press and Journal

Scottish councils have “squandered” nearly £1m on electric cars they barely use.

A Freedom of Information request revealed Scotland’s authorities have spent £962,442 on 147 electric vehicles since 2011.

But the vehicles have only done 5,843 miles on average, even though some of them are six years old and most cars travel around 8,000 miles per year.

Animal testing at universities < WalesOnline

More than 50,000 animals were experimented on at Cardiff University last year as part of “essential” research.

A Freedom of Information request showed that 43,568 mice, 1,940 rats, two guinea pigs, 4,736 fish, eight pigeons and 10 amphibians were tested on between January 1, 2016, and December 31 the same year. That is a total of 50,264 – more than 137 every day.

Accidents council vehicles are involved in < Maidenhead Advertiser

Reversing into a brick pillar, hitting a height restriction barrier and having a car park exit barrier close on the roof are just some of the accidents council vehicles have been involved in.

A Freedom of Information request by the Advertiser has revealed council vehicles were involved in 54 insurance claims for the last two financial years.

Spitting and biting police < DevonLive

Police have continued to resist calls for spit hoods despite new figures revealing almost 200 biting and spitting assaults in five years.

A total of 127 police staff in Devon and Cornwall were spat at on duty in the past five years while 60 suffered bites, the latest figures show.

Children going missing again and again < EDP

Suffolk police investigated 2,338 missing children cases in the county in 2016 – an average of six a day.

According to a Freedom of Information response from Suffolk Constabulary, the same young person was reported missing on 149 separate occasions between 2011-2016. One young person went missing 79 times last year alone.

What prisoners complain about – and how often < Aberdeen Evening Express

Prisoners at HMP Grampian have made almost 1,500 complaints over the last three years.

Freedom of Information figures reveal that 1,478 complaints have been made by inmates at the North-east’s superjail since it opened in 2014.


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