November 25, 2015

Increase in Abuse, Threats and Assaults in Courts 

The number of assaults, threats and incidents of verbal abuse at courts in England and Wales has increased in the past year.

New figures have shown that there were 217 incidents of aggression or assault in court and tribunal buildings during 2014 compared with 212 incidents in 2013 and 108 from April to December 2012.

The death of custody officer Lorraine Barwell following an incident at London's Blackfriars Crown Court in July highlights the potential for aggressive or violent behaviours to end with devastating consequences.

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) told BT News that they have a robust security system in place.

"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."