You are currently viewing Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 5/4/2024 – #FOIFriday

Freedom of Information in the news – week ending 5/4/2024 – #FOIFriday

Some FOI request ideas will potentially work anywhere – just how long have those roadworks driving everyone round the bend actually been going on? Where are you most likely to find shared houses in your city?

Some ideas could be adapted to different public bodies – what’s been lost or stolen (laptops, vehicles, etc.) or what happens to people who behave badly (or all the places you could get banned from).

This week’s FOI Friday has some ideas (or you can dig through the archives).

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Missing guns

Britain’s Armed Forces appear to have lost a small arsenal of weapons that includes machine guns, assault rifles, rocket launchers and thousands of rounds of ammunition, official records show.

The lost or stolen arms include two general purpose machine guns (GPMG), one of which was lost by the Royal Navy at sea. In total, at least 30 weapons have been either lost or stolen from military bases since 2018.

Freedom of information (FoI) requests obtained by The Sunday Telegraph and show that other weapons losses have included a deactivated Soviet-made AK47 assault rifle, Army cadet rifles, a deactivated Second World War Luger pistol, First and Second World War automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

All of the losses have been investigated by military police but no items have been found.

All the shared houses

The streets in Bristol with the highest number of HMOs have been shared by the council. And the figures reveal one street has more than 150 houses of multiple occupancy.

The data – which was obtained by BristolLive via a Freedom of Information request – shows Gloucester Road continues to be the street in the city with the highest number of houses of multiple occupancy, with 161 such properties. This is an increase of 28 per cent in the space of two years, with the street having 125 HMOs back in July 2022.

It is followed by Whiteladies Road (95) – which has seen a 10 per cent rise in two years – and Fishponds Road (87), which has seen a decrease from 92. High Kingsdown in Cotham has 82, also slightly down from 85.

Long-distance learning

More than 1,400 children are filling Gloucestershire’s grammar school places from out of the county – up by 700 from before the pandemic.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the BBC found that pupils from as far away as Chester and Wolverhampton are being accepted into the county’s seven grammar schools.

Pate’s, in Cheltenham, has the highest intake of out-of-county pupils.

Rural police force

Just 258 police officers or 0.1% are dedicated to fighting rural crime in England and Wales.

This was the finding from 37 forces who responded to a Lib Dem Freedom of Information request.

No force had more than 1% of its officers and staff deployed to rural crime teams, with eight admitting not having such units, including Norfolk and West Yorkshire.

Never-ending red lights

Got a local road which seems to constantly be out of action due to roadworks? Use FOI to see just how bad the problem is.

A busy stretch of road in Rochdale was plagued with temporary traffic lights for 100 days in 2023 – leaving many residents sitting in snaking queues on a regular basis.

A freedom of Information request (FOI) submitted to Rochdale Council revealed that the A58, between Albert Royds Street roundabout and the junction with Hollingworth Road, had temporary traffic lights in place for almost a third of the time last year (100 out of 365 days). This section of road is the main route used by motorists travelling between Rochdale and Littleborough.

Library bans

People who have been threatening and abusive have been banned from accessing libraries in Cambridgeshire. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that eight people received bans from libraries run by Cambridgeshire County Council last year, up from two people the year before.

Some of the people banned from libraries caused damage to library property, or were threatening and abusive. The county council said banning people from its libraries was always a “last resort”, but said it had to take “appropriate action” against “unacceptable behaviour”.

Pavement parking

Dundee City Council has handed out 84 fines in the first month of enforcing the fresh pavement parking ban.

Following the introduction of the new rules in December, parking attendants can now dish out fines to drivers whose vehicles are found to have one or more wheels touching the pavement.

In a Freedom of Information response to The Courier, the local authority revealed the location of all fines issued in the city between February 26 and March 25.

The most pavement parking fines have been dished out on Ure Street, off Hawkhill – with 13 tickets issued on February 29.

Picture by Lala da on Pexels

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