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Knives, alcohol and vape liquid among 336 items confiscated at Ipswich courts in three years

PUBLISHED: 16:10 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 03 January 2018

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Archant

Security staff confiscated more than 330 banned items at the doors of courts in Ipswich during the last three years.

A total of 272 forbidden items were taken from people attending South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court between January 2105 and November 2017.

At Ipswich Crown Court, 64 items were surrendered or seized during the same period.

The figures can be revealed following a Freedom of Information request to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Items confiscated at magistrates’ court included 34 knives or penknives measuring less than three inches, 22 sharp objects, 58 tools and 109 other items capable of being used as weapons.

Twenty alcoholic drinks were taken away, along with 16 cameras and 13 recording devices both banned under the Criminal Justice Act.

The number of knives fell to just three during 2017 compared with the previous year, when four times as many were confiscated.

Meanwhile, six knives were relieved from people attending crown court in 2017 an increase from five in 2016 and two in 2015.

Three containers of liquid, including electronic cigarette vapour, were also taken away at the doors to the courthouse in Russell Road last year.

Under the Courts Act 2003, security officers can request the surrender of items they believe could jeopardise the maintenance of order in the court building; may put the safety of any person in the court building at risk; or may be evidence of, or related to an offence. If someone refuses the request, articles may be seized.

A spokesman for HMCTS said it took the issue of security within courts extremely seriously, and had a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the judiciary.

They added: “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.”

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