Strengthening Court security at Coffs Harbour - NSW Nationals

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Strengthening Court security at Coffs Harbour

Security at key courthouses across NSW will be further strengthened with the appointment of 48 Sheriff’s Officers as part of the NSW Government’s counter-terrorism response.

Andrew Fraser Member for Coffs Harbour and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced that Coffs Harbour Courthouse would receive two additional Sheriffs.

“The safety of those who work at or attend Coffs Harbour Courthouse is of the utmost importance,” Mr Fraser said.

Ms Upton said the NSW Government is investing nearly $5.2 million to appoint more Sheriff’s Officers in 2015/16, with new recruits to start training today.

“This surge in Sheriff’s Officers will further strengthen security at key courthouses during a period when the nation’s terrorism alert is on high.”

Sheriff’s Officers are responsible for court security, administering the jury system and serving and enforcing a range of court orders. They conduct routine scans of people entering court facilities and have the power to confiscate weapons and other dangerous items to ensure a safe environment. During trials, Sheriff’s Officers provide support for jurors.

Forty recruits have been appointed for new roles, while eight vacant positions for permanent Sheriff’s Officers have been filled. The additional Sheriff’s Officers will work in Sydney and in regional areas from Wagga Wagga to Wollongong and Tamworth to Taree.

The recruits will undergo a rigorous five weeks of training, with the first classes to begin on September 26. The physical component of training will include the use of batons and other appointments, hand-to-hand tactics and escorting people from courts. The recruits will also be trained in resolving conflict peacefully using verbal skills.

The Office of the NSW Sheriff has existed for more than 190 years. The role of the state’s earliest Sheriff’s Officers included carrying out the death sentence in criminal cases, running prisons and discharging the duties of the coroner.  

While the modern Sheriff’s Officer no longer performs any of those functions (NSW abolished death sentences for murder in 1955), they continue to play a critical role in court security and the administration of the NSW justice system.

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