Monday, April 03, 2006

Media roundup

The Guardian - Revealed: victims of UK's cold war torture camp
"Photographs of victims of a secret torture programme operated by British authorities during the early days of the cold war are published for the first time today after being concealed for almost 60 years."

Scotland on Sunday - 2,000 Scots police given 'inadequate' body armour
"Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the force opted for different covers for its body armour so officers could wear them on top of their clothing instead of underneath."

Scotsman - Support for ID cards does not add up
"Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the Home Office has admitted that its main poll of public opinion in Scotland used a sample group of just 158 people. That is just a small fraction of the size which independent pollsters say is required for reliable results."

The Times - Inquiry into secret guns-for-Iraq deal
"The Times has learnt through the Freedom of Information Act that thousands of the Berettas were ordered and paid for by the Ministry of Defence."

The Times - Soldiers shot for not putting on cap may at last be pardoned
"ALL his life Christy Walsh wondered if it was true that his great-uncle, Patrick Downey, really was executed for refusing an order to put on his cap. “My mother talked about it a lot and you’d ask yourself: ‘Can she be right?’ It just didn’t make any sense at all. But when the Freedom of Information Act came about and all the documents were available, I discovered that’s what happened.” "

Sunday Times
- Police told: let off more offenders with cautions
"THE police have been instructed to let off offenders with a caution if they commit any one of more than 60 types of crime, ranging from assault to some types of theft, criminal damage and under-aged sex. The instructions are contained in a government document sent to forces and released under the Freedom of Information Act."

BBC News Scotland - Large rise in attacks on teachers
"The number of assaults in the capital has risen dramatically from 185 in 2004 to 466 in 2005. The figures, which were released under the freedom of information act, reveal staff have been bitten, punched, scratched and throttled by pupils."

Independent - Ch√Ęteauny Blair: Labour's staggering £1m wine bill
"Today, however, The Independent on Sunday is in a position to lift a corner of this shroud of secrecy. Since Tony Blair took office in 1997, we can reveal, New Labour has spent almost £1m of taxpayers' money on replenishing the supplies cellared under Lancaster House."

Regional news

Belfast Telegraph - Revealed: Ulster's Legal Aid bill - £60m
"LAWYERS in Northern Ireland raked in almost £60 million in Legal Aid cash last year, Sunday Life can reveal. One firm of solicitors received more than £2m and at least two barristers received over £500,000 of taxpayers' cash each."

The figures - released by the Legal Services Commission following a Freedom of Information application - apply to both criminal and civil cases.

Norwich Evening News
- Secrecy over sex case teacher
"The Evening News's sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press, submitted a series of questions to the Home Office and Norfolk police regarding the case and asked for a copy of the letter sent by temporary Chief Constable Carole Howlett to the Home Office on December 23, 2005, along with any correspondence from Whitehall. But more than nine weeks after the formal request was made, officials have said the information is exempt and it is in the public interest for it to remain secret. Dr Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North, last night criticised the secrecy and vowed to raise the matter in Parliament."

Hastings Today - Roberston Street 'most violent part of Hastings'
"The bustling walkway - which is home to many pubs, clubs and stores - was the site of 37 attacks between February 1 last year and January 31 this year. These incidents of mugging, violence and other similar crimes place the road among the 13 worst in the county, according to figures released by Sussex Police under the Freedom of Information Act."

Hendon and Finchley Times - Hospital staff to be given arrest powers
"Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust is discussing plans with the Metropolitan Police to train staff to be special constables, who will patrol the corridors and wards armed with the powers of a normal police officer. The news comes as statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 205 allegations of theft had been recorded from patients, staff and visitors at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals in the past five years."

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