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Guns, knives and booze seized by court security

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Dozens of deadly weapons are on a list of almost 1,000 items seized from Fylde coast courts in the last two years, The Gazette can reveal.

Between August 2012 and March this year, staff at Blackpool Magistrates Court confiscated 854 objects, ranging from guns and knives to alcohol – and even umbrellas.

The figures, released by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) following a Freedom of Information request from The Gazette, show 53 knives, two genuine firearms and six replica guns are included on that list.

During the same period, 85 items were seized at Fleetwood Magistrates Court – four of them knives.

Staff have the power to confiscate any object they feel could be used as a weapon, to cause a hazard to 
people’s safety or to disrupt court proceedings.

An HMCTS spokesman said: “HMCTS takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and has 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.

“The powers of the court security officers include the ability to restrain and remove people from the building should there be a need.

“Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate and mitigates against the risks faced.”

Other items that have been seized in court include 14 pieces of recording equipment, 80 cameras and 322 
alcoholic drinks.

Tools also feature highly on the list, with 144 seized in Blackpool and a further 44 
recovered in Fleetwood.

Chairman of the Fylde Magistrates Bench Frank Shipway said: “We are content the security people are doing their work to keep our courts safe.

“In terms of magistrates, we have our own secure 
entrance.”

The worst month for seizures, October 2012, saw 83 items confiscated – almost three a day. Of those objects, 50 were classified as “sharps”, which can include glass, 
needles and razors.

In the same month, six replica firearms were also 
recovered after attempts were made to take them into the court building. The amount of alcohol taken in has fallen sharply in the last year.

 

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