Court staff seize an average of 36 items a day at security gates

High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: file
High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: file
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Thousands of weapons are being confiscated at courthouses in Scotland, it can be revealed, according to figures that highlight how people are walking city streets carrying knives.

Security staff seized more than 13,000 items at courthouse security gates last year - an average of 36 a day - including 1,300 knives and 2,500 other bladed objects - according to figures obtained in a JPI Media Data investigation.

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The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service described the high number as a “success” and said it shows their security provisions are working effectively.

The number of knives seized at courthouses fell by one percent from 1,314 in 2017 to 1,300 in 2018, while the number of other bladed items seized fell by 21 percent from 3,225 to 2,558.

But a leading knife-crime awareness charity has raised concerns about people trying to carry weapons into courts despite the high likelihood of being caught.

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Patrick Green, chief executive of knife-crime awareness charity The Ben Kinsella Trust, said it was encouraging that numbers have dropped.

But he said: “The figures show that some people still feel the need to intentionally bring a knife to court even when they know that there is a high likelihood that they will be caught.

“Despite this good news, knife-carrying is still a problem and we must continue working to stop the scourge of knife crime.

“We must remain committed to taking knives and those who carry them off our streets and educating our young people about the dangers associated with carrying a knife.”

Glasgow Sheriff Court was found to have had the most items seized at security gates last year, with 3,873 items confiscated in total, data obtained from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service under Freedom of Information laws shows.

This was followed by Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where 3,476 items were seized by security staff, and Paisley Sheriff Court, where 1,423 items were found.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court had the highest number of knives confiscated at security in 2018, with 415 seized, while a further 660 bladed or pointed objects were also found.

In 2017, Edinburgh Sheriff Court confiscated 5,510 items followed by Glasgow Sheriff Court with 4,669 and Aberdeen with 1,063.

The data did not reveal which type of knives were seized - such as whether their blades were over the three-inch legal limit for carrying in public.

The number of drugs seizures at Scottish court buildings rose by 35 per cent from 98 to 132, while alcohol seizures rose by 28 per cent from 1254 to 1608.