Big fall in number of knives being seized in East Midlands courts

The number of knives being seized at courts in the East Midlands has fallen 75 per cent in the last year
The number of knives being seized at courts in the East Midlands has fallen 75 per cent in the last year

The number of dangerous knives being seized from people at crown courts in the East Midlands has dropped by 75 per cent in the last year.

While nearly 700 knives, including more than 50 illegal blades were seized by security staff at court security gates in England last year, there were just four incidents recorded in the East Midlands in 2018 – down from 16 in 2017 – the lowest number for any region in England.

At the other end of the scale, London had the highest number of knives seized with 258 incidents in the last year.

In all, court security staff seized more than 800 dangerous weapons of various kinds in England last year, a figure that leading knife-crime awareness charity, The Ben Kinsella Trust said was ‘very worrying’.

Overall, there has been a 23 per cent rise in England in the number of incidents where knives have been seized.

Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust, said: “With England in the grip of a knife crime epidemic it is very worrying to see that even our courts are not immune from this scourge.

“It is concerning that some people 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.

“This illustrates how normalised knife carrying can become.

“It highlights that more needs to be done to remove knives and those who carry them are removed from our streets.

Anyone entering a court building in England must go through security gates where staff search bags and use metal detectors to find and seize dangerous objects.

But questions have been raised over the effectiveness of these searches after a man died in April of this year afte after dousing himself with acid while in the dock at the Inner London Crown Court.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service said its security system is continually monitored and those who enter court and tribunals are subject to mandatory searches each time.

A spokesman said: “With stringent security measures now in place, including mandatory bag checks and metal detectors, finds of large knives have fallen by more than 90 per cent in the past five years.

“Inevitably, we are also confiscating more everyday items like nail scissors and cutlery that people keep in their bags.

“Anyone found with a serious weapon will be restrained and the police will be called.”