HC Deb 03 April 2001 vol 366 cc173-4W
38. Mr. Bercow

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on protection of court officials and the prevention of escape by defendants. [155209]

Jane Kennedy

The Lord Chancellor's Department takes security in courtrooms and threats to the public, judges, magistrates and staff very seriously.

Both the Court Service and magistrates courts committees carry out regular risk assessments of the adequacy of physical security measures in court buildings and there are ongoing programmes of security improvements across the court estate. In addition, more secure docks are being installed in certain Crown and magistrates courts so as to provide higher levels of courtroom security for the more serious cases being heard.

The Lord Chancellor has asked officials to report to him on the adequacy of existing security arrangements across the court estate (particularly following the reduction of routine uniformed police presence in Crown Courts), on the options for their improvement and on the feasibility of more fundamental proposals.

The adequacy of prisoner security measures during court hearings is the responsibility of the Prison Service and the Prison Escort and Custody Services (PECS).