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Issues in Courtroom Security: A Key Role for the Private Sector in Australia and New Zealand

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2012 Pages: 25-37
Rick Sarre; Tim Prenzler
Date Published
February 2012
13 pages
This article discusses two important trends emerging in the science of court security worldwide.
There are two important trends emerging in the science of court security worldwide. The first is the trend towards security and risk management, and the heightened responsibility that now rests with the courts to protect those who work or visit there. This trend comes in response to a number of incidents in which people have been killed or injured at the hands of offenders in and around law court buildings. The second is the trend to courts administrators contracting with private security personnel. Over the last quarter century, and around the world, there has been a widespread shifting of security functions from public to private hands. Today, private sector employees are well recognized as important players in prisoner transport and court security generally. Such contracting 'in' of security services has much to offer those responsible for risk management of courts. Using a case study approach, and drawing upon examples of law courts from jurisdictions across Australia and New Zealand, the authors conclude that it is possible to secure courtrooms to a far greater degree than has been the case in the past without jeopardizing the important feature of curial 'openness'. (Published Abstract)