REVEALED: Knives and tools among thousands of dangerous items seized at Norfolk and Suffolk courts
PUBLISHED: 15:41 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 12 March 2019
Knives, tools and alcohol were among the thousands of banned items seized at Norfolk and Suffolk courts within a year.
Security staff confiscated 2,274 items from magistrates’ and crown court in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Ipswich in 2017, according to figures obtained from Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) via a Freedom of Information request.
The list of prohibited items that can be seized or confiscated by court security officers includes knives, genuine and replica firearms, tools, cameras, recording equipment, vape liquids and alcohol.
At Norwich magistrates’ and crown court, staff had found 84 knives and 48 sharps items through metal detectors and bag searches, including three attempts to take in bigger knives, with a blade larger than three inches, in one month alone.
Elsewhere, there were 64 knives seized at both King’s Lynn courts, six knives at Great Yarmouth and five in Ipswich.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “HMCTS take the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and have a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the judiciary.
“This system includes mandatory bag searches, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, as well as court security officers who have legislative powers to protect all those in the court building.
“Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate and mitigates against the risks faced.”
Restrictions also cover liquids with the exception of unopened cans and bottles and prescribed medication.
Hundreds of alcoholic drinks were also removed from people at the door, with figures showing 63 boozy beverages confiscated in Great Yarmouth, 107 in Norwich, 23 in King’s Lynn and five in Ipswich.
The vast majority of the banned items found in all courts, around 1,515, were categorised as ‘other’, which officials say are items that security staff deem dangerous enough to be used as a weapon or cause a hazard to others in the building. These can include ropes, chains and full-length umbrellas.
Some 236 tools, which include screwdrivers, hammers and nails, were also taken away as well as 33 recording devices and 73 cameras.