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Public Bring Knives to Court 22 November 2004

MORE than one hundred knives have been taken off members of the public during the security searching being trialled at the Island's main Courthouse building in Douglas.

In the first two months of searching a total of 132 items were collected, including 114 knives of various kinds (including 15 stanley knives) and other objects such as screwdrivers and scissors.

Chief Registrar Mrs Angela Lloyd-Humphreys commented:

"The number of these items which would otherwise be brought into a Court or the General Registry administration front office is surprising, and the carrying of stanley knives and larger bladed items is a particular cause for concern.

"Some knives may be carried for work-related purposes, but it is important that visitors to our building get the message that knives and similar prohibited articles have no place in a safe Courts and administration environment.

"I believe that our search procedures have proved their worth very quickly by creating a safer environment for all users of our building. A continued security presence should reduce the number of potential weapons being carried."

The Chief Registrar said there was regular and appropriate liaison with the police on the matter.

The trial period for security searching at the Courthouse building has been extended until January 2005, when a decision will be taken as to how security needs will be met in future.

The Chief Registrar added that the system was not perfect and there was scope for a number of improvements, subject to funding. She was also keen to extend such protection for staff and customers of the adjoining Registries building which houses family and civil courts.

Recent discussions with senior Court Service personnel in the Channel Islands indicates that they may be interested in adopting similar measures in Jersey and Guernsey.

Mrs Lloyd-Humphreys said the overall view of the security measures was one of acceptance, and few complaints had been received. She paid tribute to those who had helped to make the initiative a success, including Mike Radcliffe of the Isle of Man Police, Andy Wade, Head of Corporate Services at the General Registry, and current service providers, Securicor.

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