Wilkinson paints half picture of Court security
Wilkinson paints half picture of Court security, draws wrong conclusions
Kate Wilkinson has today chosen to quote selectively from written questions and has given a one sided view of Court security says Courts Minister, Rick Barker.
“The figures released actually show a decrease in the number of serious security incidents which have occurred in the Northern Region (which includes Auckland) and the Waikato Region,” Mr Barker said.
“In addition, she fails to mention that the incidents quoted include when staff are in secure non public areas and when they are out and about in the field. For example, when Collections staff are undertaking enforcement action such as clamping cars.
“The issue of Court security is a high priority for this Labour led Government and this is reflected in the fact that we have increased the number of Court security staff from 30 in 2003 to 53 in 2007.
“There are now 14 walk through metal detectors and 3 baggage x-rays placed at the entrances to Courts around the country. Last year 365,000 people entering Courts were searched using scanners with 3,500 items temporarily confiscated. Security features are also an important consideration in the redevelopment or building of new Courts.
“We actively encourage staff to report all security incidents including graffiti and abusive telephone calls. This is because we believe that all Court staff have the right to a safe working environment and that the public should feel safe in our Courts. Any reported security incident is of concern, but to claim that they are the result of Government inaction is misleading.
“The reality is that Courts can be stressful places and staff are sometimes placed in demanding and difficult situations. This is why the Government has placed such a high level of importance on staff training for Courts and Collections staff,” Mr Barker said.
Of the 661 security incidents reported in 2007 approximately one third were classified as serious.