Police wearing firearms in court - Public Service Association

Police wearing firearms in court

Firearms in court bulletin – 9 December 2015 (PDF version)

On 7 August, the PSA lodged an urgent dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.

The dispute was a direct result of the failure of the Department of Justice to consult with the PSA in relation to the implementation of Police Officers wearing firearms in courtrooms.

Further, the PSA was concerned that due to the increased national security threat, Sheriff’s Officers, who provide security at Courthouses, would be at greater risk of assaults and possibly worse.

Whilst the dispute was lodged on behalf of Sheriff’s Officers, the PSA made mention of other court users such as Legal Aid employees, Court Reporters and DPP staff who are also affected by the increased security threat.

During the dispute, Justice Walton agreed consultation had not occurred and directed both partied to commence immediate discussions.

With the direction of the Commission in mind, a working party was formed with two PSA and two Departmental representatives.

The purpose of the working party is to conduct a gap analysis of five main areas that directly impacted court security:

  1. current policies, practices and procedures including emergency and evacuation controls
  2. policy amendments
  3. staffing issues including training induction, recruitment, and personal safety
  4. technology including duress alarms, monitors and remote locking systems
  5. personal protective equipment.

The working party also included emergency scenarios in the analysis such as:

  • a ceramic knife being smuggled into the Courthouse
  • a member of the public securing a police officer’s firearm.

On 17 November, a DRAFT report, including recommendations, was provided to the working party. Once approved by the working party, the final report will be submitted to the PSA and Department of Justice executive for final approval.

A report back to the Industrial Relations Commission took place on 2 December, where the parties presented the final report to Justice Walton.

Justice Walton ordered a final report back on 15 December.

The PSA will continue to update members as consultation progresses.

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