Increased security at courthouses across New Zealand has resulted in serious incidents falling by nearly two-thirds, says Courts Minister Chester Borrows.
New Plymouth courthouse was one of eight courts which have had walk-through metal detectors and an X-ray machine installed.
The improvements have been funded through $9m approved in the 2009 Budget aimed at beefing up court security.
Along with the metal detectors, an additional 45 court security officers have been employed.
Mr Borrows said those who went to court should be able to feel safe whatever their reason for being there.
"That's why we're investing in additional court security where it's needed and I'm pleased to see that investment paying off."
Security incidents in court fell by 35 per cent between 2009 and 20011 while serious incidents were down 63 per cent, Mr Borrows said.
The new investment has allowed courts to triple the number of people screened before entering the courthouse and increased the number of weapons seized by more than 30 per cent, Mr Borrows said.
"This underscores the message that violence at court will not be tolerated.
"It's a very pleasing result and I congratulate court security staff on their efforts."
New metal detectors at New Plymouth, Hastings, Kaikohe, Porirua, Gisborne, Invercargill, Nelson and Greymouth.
New X-ray baggage screening at New Plymouth, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Whangarei, Wanganui, Gisborne, Waitakere, Hamilton District Court and Auckland High Court.
Court security officers increased from 54 in 2009 to 94
People searched increased from 410,633 to 1.1.3 million.
Potential weapons removed 5333 to 7008
Total security incidents down from 557 to 361
Serious security incidents down from 211 to 78.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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