West Midlands Police has published a list of the most ‘quirky’ Freedom of Information requests it has received.

I’m not going to discuss whether someone at the police force could have spent their time doing something more productive than writing the list and publishing it on BuzzFeed (because the answer is obviously, yes).

Although, the police force claim publishing the quirky requests will encourage more people to make requests. 

However, here are nine FOI requests to West Midlands Police that aren’t ‘quirky’ and show the true value of FOI:

1. West Midlands Police response times went up eight percent.

2. Police officers sacked for Data Protection Breaches. 

3. The force is second worst in the country for inappropriate use of social media. 

4. 27 West Midlands Police officers have criminal records.

5. The force pays £1.2m to informants. 

6. £1m was spent to repair damage to police cars that had been crashed. 

7. 50 police officers were paid £900k in compensation with one getting £8k for a flea bite.

8. They won’t reveal if they spied on journalists using the RIPA powers.

9. 39 sex offenders are missing in the force’s area

I am a journalist and author. I am a journalist at the UK edition of WIRED magazine. In 2015, my first book Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. My second book Reed Hastings: Building Netflix, was published in March 2020. I created FOI Directory in 2012 and have maintained it in my spare time ever since.