Courthouse scanner to aid security

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 05:00 23/02/2014

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Anyone attending the Blenheim District Court can expect to be scanned by a device checking for dangerous items.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the courthouse had been issued with a portable walk-through scanner, which would be used occasionally at the court.

Arrival of the equipment comes just weeks after an incident at the Blenheim courthouse, when a man found a bullet for a .303 rifle on the steps outside the building.

The new equipment was not a reaction to that incident, the spokesperson said. Instead, Blenheim was just the latest court to get a walk-through scanner.

It would be based at Blenheim, but would also be shared with other courts in the northern and western regions of the South Island.

Where it was used depended on the security risk at courts on different days.

Risk assessments were based on intelligence information, and looked at cases which might involve a potential threat to people visiting or working in the courthouse, the spokesperson said.

Court security officers worked closely with key justice sector partners, including the police and the Department of Corrections, to identify and reduce security risks.

The security officers would be using the scanners to pick up any items that might pose a risk to anyone inside the court.

Under the Court Security Act 1999, court security officers have the power to search people entering a court, remove people from court and detain them for contempt of court or specified offences, the spokesperson said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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