More than 100 knives seized in security checks at Northamptonshire's courts this year

Northamptonshire's three criminal courtsNorthamptonshire's three criminal courts
Northamptonshire's three criminal courts
Some also tried to take drugs, firearms or alcohol into court, figures have revealed

More than 100 knives have been seized from people who were entering Northamptonshire’s court buildings this year, figures have revealed.

Those who attend the Northampton Combined Crown Court and County Court, Northampton Magistrates’ Court and Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court have to empty their pockets, have their bags searched and walk through a metal detector archway so security officers can check whether they have any prohibited items.

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And a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper has revealed that, from January to October 2023, a total of 118 knives were discovered and seized at the county’s court entrances.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “HMCTS (His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service) take the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and have a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the Judiciary.

"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.

"Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate and mitigates against the risks faced.”

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The Freedom of Information request revealed that 3,869 prohibited items were taken by security officers at the entrance to Northampton’s Combined Crown Court and County Court.

The majority of these were liquids or glass bottles, but the figures included one knife which had a blade exceeding 3in and 87 knives with a blade length of under 3in.

Security officers also seized three firearms which were classed as ‘other’ rather than genuine or replica, although data did not reveal what they were, as well as one item of drugs and 165 classic large umbrellas.

At Northampton Magistrates’ Court a total of 1,395 items were seized including 21 knives with a blade length of under 3in.

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Also taken were 212 items of alcohol, 47 tools and 42 motorcycle helmets.

Figures said that just 20 items were seized at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court, the least-used criminal court in the county.

But staggeringly almost half of these – nine – were knives with a blade length of under 3in.