FOI disclosure stories 20 – 26 April 2009

Commonwealth cousins prop up British Army – The Times 25/04/09
“The British Army’s ‘foreign legion’ of soldiers recruited abroad to fill its ranks has expanded to more than one in 10 of all troops. Non UK nationals now number about 10,430, just less than 11% of the army’s full-time troops, excluding reserves, according to new figures released under the Freedom of Information Act… In all, the figures show that 38 foreign nationalities are represented in the army, nearly all from the Commonwealth. These do not include the 3,600-strong Brigade of Gurkhas, recruited in Nepal.”

2,800 crime gangs ravage UK streets – The Times 24/04/09
“Police have identified 2,800 organised criminal gangs, nearly three times the number previously acknowledged, and admit that British law enforcement is ill-equipped to deal with the threat that they pose. The Times has obtained an official report revealing the finding by intelligence analysts. It was completed six months ago but marked ‘restricted’ and circulated only to ministers and police chiefs. After a freedom of information request, it was made available this month in edited form. Issued by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, it is the first time that officials have disclosed the true scale of the gangland threat and made the frank admission that they are struggling to cope with it.”

Taxpayer foots the bill for nuclear bonuses – The Times 21/04/09
“Public servants working in Britain’s nuclear industry are being paid millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded bonuses every year, The Times has learnt. The response from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency responsible for the clean-up of Britain’s nuclear sites, shows that the organisation paid nearly £3.8 million in bonuses to its 315 staff last year. The average bonus was £11,954, with some regular, non-director level staff receiving £36,917 – up to 40 per cent of their salary. NDA directors received bonuses as high as £85,000.”

Infection risk – BBCi 25/04/09
“Two workers at a government laboratory scratched themselves with needles risking contamination with the H5N1 bird flu strain, it has been revealed. Both were treated with anti-viral drugs and subsequently tested negative. The incidents at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) at Weybridge in Surrey came to light following a BBC Freedom of Information request. The VLA has reported 80 incidents over five years and continually reviews risk assessments and procedures.”

Most truckers transporting illegals are foreign – Kent News 24/04/09
“The UK Borders Agency admitted that of all the lorry drivers bringing in desperate migrants into the UK, 90 per cent are overseas drivers. The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information request, showed 1,571 foreign truckers were fined an estimated £2million last year after clandestine migrants were found hiding in the back of their trucks.”

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