Boy finds bullet on court steps

19:21, Jan 22 2014
Blenheim District Court
The Blenheim District Court where a boy found a bullet for a .303 rifle

A Blenheim mother is questioning the lack of metal detectors at Blenheim District Court after her son found a bullet on the court house steps.

The woman, who didn't want to be named to protect the identity of her son, said the bullet was found on Tuesday about 2pm.

The bullet, which was ammunition for a .303 rifle, was handed in to court staff.

A court security officer came out to the front of the court house with a hand-held metal detector, she said.

"It obviously made them a bit concerned," she said.

"Everyone went into a bit of a panic."


The officer began using the metal detector on people who had gathered on the steps, including gang members.

"Everyone started to get angry at being searched," she said.

She wanted to know why courts such as Nelson had metal detectors, but Blenheim court didn't.

"I had kids with me," she said.

"If someone wants to pull a gun on the judge or on a gang member, there's nothing to stop them."

A Justice Ministry spokesman said there was no information to suggest a weapon had been brought near the court.

The bullet was handed in to police, which was normal procedure for an incident of this nature, he said.

Blenheim court security staff used hand-held security wands based on a risk assessment of cases being handled at the court, he said.

The security plan for courts was based on known or suspected threats and was therefore flexible, he said.

"This enables us to tailor and review security measures to meet needs as they become known."

At the country's 61 courts, there were 16 full X-ray and metal detectors, 40 walk through scanners, and 92 hand devices.

Improved security screening since 2009 saw the number of attempts to bring weapons to court decrease from one in every 77 people screened in 2008 to one in every 186 in 2012. In the past two years, there were 29 attempts to bring in weapons.

The Marlborough Express