HC Deb 30 January 2001 vol 362 cc151-2W
31. Mr. Bercow

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment she has made of the adequacy of security measures during court hearings. [146212]

Jane Kennedy

The security of prisoners in custody (or in the dock) is the responsibility of Her Majesty's Prison Service.

Risk in relation to physical security of Crown, county and combined courts is regularly assessed against an agreed set of minimum security standards. Each court is assessed at least every three years but more if circumstances dictate.

Indeed, as a result of the recent incident involving Judge Goddard at the central criminal court, the Lord Chancellor has instituted a departmental security inquiry which will be looking at the reasons behind the incident, including the adequacy of communication and the security measures within the courtrooms themselves.

Responsibility for security in magistrates courts rests with magistrates courts committees (MCCs) and it is expected that every MCC should conduct regular security risk assessments.

35. Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she last discussed the level of policing in the courts with chief constables; and if she will make a statement. [146216]

Jane Kennedy

The Lord Chancellor has never discussed the level of policing in courts with chief constables. This is, however, something that is regularly undertaken by senior officials from his Department and which Presiding and Resident Judges have discussed with chief constables in the past.

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