Sheriffs seek protection from court violence

JUDGES and sheriffs in Scotland want security measures increased in courts because they fear being attacked.

A new survey of law officers found that many are concerned about the levels of protection in courtrooms.

Among the concerns they highlighted were the small stature of some security officers who are handcuffed to suspects during court hearings.

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The lawmen and women are calling for tighter security in a bid to stop violent outbursts by those appearing in the dock.

It came in the first ever survey by the Scottish Court Service on the views of judges and sheriffs on their work.

Suggestions for improved security included screening at all times of people entering courts, separate entrances and toilets for judges and sheriffs, and more police officers in court.

The report reads: “Twenty-four respondents commented on security issues in courts.

“Thirteen alluded to the risks to the personal safety of judicial office holders when having to walk through public areas to get to their courts or chambers.

“Eight referred to security issues in court buildings, including one who requested security screening be installed and another who requested that security screening be used throughout the day, not only at peak times.”

It went on to say: “Specific comments included the occasional absence of court officers and police from court, the diminutive stature of some security officers who are with the accused in the dock, and the need for a regular police presence in JP courts.”

A Scottish Court Service spokesman said: “Overall the survey found a large number of respondents were satisfied with the support provided by the SCS, but any areas for improvement will be considered, including any concerns over security.”

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