FOI Friday: Stories made possible thanks to the law politicians keep trying to kill

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Criminals applying to be taxi drivers < ChroniceLive

Killers, rapists and potential terrorists are among those who have applied to be taxi drivers in the North East.

An investigation by ChronicleLive shows the amount of dangerous criminals trying to become cabbies – with arsonists and violent yobs just some being given licences.

Separate figures revealed through a Freedom of Information request show eight drivers in South Tyneside and six in Gateshead were issued a taxi licence despite criminal convictions between November 2014 and October 2015.

Pauper funerals rising < Sheffield Star

The number of ‘paupers’ funerals’ in Sheffield, for people who died alone or whose family were too poor to pay, is growing.

Sheffield Council paid for 67 such services over the last two years – more than double the 33 it organised across 2012 and 2013 – figures obtained by The Star using the Freedom of Information Act show.

Over-collecting parking payments < Farnham Herald

WAVERLEY Borough Council has pocketed more than £500,000 in overpayments to the borough’s car parking machines over the past six years, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

The data, obtained by Farnham resident Rupert Englander, reveals Waverley raked in a total of £562,000 between 2010 and 2016, as a result of ticket machines in the borough’s council-run car parks not giving out change.

This includes £125,000 lost change in 2015/16 alone – marking a 15 per cent increase on the previous year’s revenue of £108,000, and almost double the £73,000 added to Waverley’s coffers in 2010/11.

Crimes involving drones < Shropshire Star

 

School crossing patrols fall < BBC

The number of school lollipop staff in Wales has fallen by almost a quarter in the past three years, figures show.

As of March 2016, the number employed by local authorities fell by 170 to fewer than 600 compared to three years earlier – a drop of 23%.

Many of the patrols have not been replaced by cash-strapped councils after crossing assistants retired.

Drones used in crimes < Shropshire Star

A total of 36 incidents were reported in the first three months of this year.

The crimes range from attempts to bring items into a prison using drones, flying over airfields or properties and drones being stolen from shops.

But despite the number of reports, there have been no criminal convictions, with the most severe punishment being a community resolution for one of the thefts.

According to the figures, released this month following a Freedom of Information request to West Mercia Police, there have been two instances where drones have been used to convey items into a prison, and one conspiracy to do so.

University donations < ChronicleLive

Using Freedom of Information laws, we have acquired records of all donations over £1,000 to the region’s four universities in the past five years.

It reveals that some universities bring in just a couple of hundred thousand, while others make millions from the arrangement.

Durham University has received the largest amount of money in private donations.

It has seen its coffers boosted by a massive £34,485,774 in the period since April 2012 – more than 15 times the other three universities combined.

Knife crime at a five-year high < Burton Mail

Shocking new figures have revealed that knife crime in Staffordshire is at a five-year high, despite ongoing efforts to take weapons off the streets. More than 2,000 crimes involving weapons took place in the Staffordshire area between 2012 and 2016, but the figures peaked last year with 447 offences.

The total of 2,065 crimes committed in the five-year period includes 86 incidents of people being threatened with a blade or sharply-pointed weapon in a public place. These figures also reached a five-year high last year, with 24 offences, compared to 18 the year before.

The large majority of the 2,065 crimes involved possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. There were 406 offences in 2012, 354 in 2013, 398 in 2014, 371 in 2015 and 414 in 2016, a total of 1,943 incidents over the five-year period.

Minor crashes in supermarket car parks < Nottingham Post

Morrisons has been named as the supermarket in Nottingham where you are most likely to have a crash in the car park.

A Freedom of Information request was submitted to Nottinghamshire Police asking for the number of all serious and minor crashes recorded in supermarkets between 2006 and 2016.

Selling booze to teens < Grimsby Telegraph

FIFTEEN traders in North East Lincolnshire have been charged with selling alcohol to underage children in the last four years.

Figures obtained by The Grimsby Telegraph via a freedom of information act request show that from the start of 2013 until the end of 2016, one person was charged with buying alcohol on behalf of people who are underage, while 15 were charged with selling alcohol to them.

67% of parking appeals upheld in Hunts < Hunts Post

Between January 2014 and March 30 this year, the authority handed out more than 15,500 tickets and collected a total of £511,000, paid for by drivers who had “contravened parking regulations” in its car parks and on-street spaces.

Figures also released, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request by The Hunts Post, show that of the parking fines handed out from January 2014 to March 30 this year, more than 18 per cent of drivers who were issued tickets appealed.

According to the FOI request, more than 67 per cent of those appeals were upheld by the district council – a total of 1,948.

£1.5m in unpaid parking fines < Bradford Telegraph and Argus

BRADFORD Council is owed more than £1.6 million in unpaid parking fines from the last three years.

The figure has been released following a Freedom of Information request by the Telegraph & Argus, which has also revealed the most ticketed roads in the Bradford district.

Almost £420,000 in unpaid fines is still outstanding from the financial year 2014-15, with more than £500,000 outstanding from 2015-16, and more than £730,000 in 2016-17.

 

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