You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 28/10/22 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 28/10/22 – #FOIFriday

The phrase that launched a thousand FOIs – “XXX has not said how much it spent on YYY”.

You know if your local police force, council, hospital trust, or even the Government pulls out that phrase the next question is going to be “Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you tell me how much you spent on…”

That and other FOI inspiration in this week’s FOI Friday.

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24 hours in A&E

Hundreds of Scots have spent more than two days waiting to be seen at one of Scotland’s struggling A&E wards in the last year, shock figures have shown.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said 859 people waited more than 36 hours to be assessed and either admitted, treated or discharged in A&E departments – and a further 243 people waited more than 48 hours to be seen. The figures were uncovered by his party in a series of Freedom of Information requests, the Daily Record reports.

LGBTQ+ hate crimes

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, Devon and Cornwall Police figures showed that in the year to August hate crimes relating to LGBTQ+ people had increased month on month in comparison to 2021, the BBC reports.

For example, in May 2021, 46 hate crimes were recorded while in May 2022 there were 66. In August 2021 the figure was 75, compared to 94 this August. In total, 554 hate crimes were recorded up to the end of August. In 2021 there were 442 in the same period and 701 for the entire year. In 2020 a total of 477 were recorded.

Modern slavery

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. It covers a wide range of abuse and exploitation including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, criminal exploitation and even organ harvesting.

Nearly 800 modern slavery offences were recorded by West Yorkshire Police in a three-year period – but just three per cent of cases resulted in a charge or summons, according to the Telegraph and Argus. The figures were released by the force through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Taser officers

The number of police officers authorised to carry Tasers in Kent has almost trebled in five years. Figures from the force show in 2018 there were 351 officers authorised to carry the weapon, while in 2022 there are 1,031, according to the BBC.

Some special constables in Kent are now carrying Tasers. A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed between April 2021 and August 2022 Tasers were deployed in Kent 887 times, being fired 806 times.

Parcel theft

Online shopping saw a huge increase during the pandemic, and ordering things online has continued to be a popular way to get the things you want. And it seems criminals have noticed.

Essex Police has collated information on postage thefts between 2019 and 2022 as part of a freedom of information request. In 2019 there were 217, in 2020 there were 302, in 2021 there were 1,126 and then 2022 there were 243 incidents of postal theft reported, the Echo reports.

It comes after it was revealed that parcel thefts are more common in Essex than in any other police area in the UK, according to a study carried out by an international courier service.

Crime-fighting’ tuk-tuks

Earlier this month Gwent Police unveil tuk-tuks as latest crime fighting tool – or as the BBC put it: “Italian police have driven Ferraris, American officers Corvettes and in the United Arab Emirates the Bugatti Veyron has been used. To this list Gwent Police have added their latest weapon in the fight against crime – the mighty tuk-tuk.”

When the scheme launched, the police force didn’t say how much the scheme was costing. A follow-up Freedom of Information request from the BBC has found (and quick turnaround from Gwent Police on this), the police force bought four of the vehicles for £9,936 each, or £39,744. They were paid for from a Home Office fund aimed at tackling specific safety and crime prevention issues.

Image by Miguel Cuenca on Pexels

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