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Issued: Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Police will be able to wear their guns in court, under a new protocol announced by Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton.
Mr Grant said the new protocol outlines the circumstances in which police will be allowed to carry their guns as a standing arrangement, while not abrogating the right of judicial officers to control their court rooms.
The circumstances include while police give evidence and brief prosecutors inside court rooms, and while police are within court complexes.
Prior to this protocol, police were not permitted to bring their guns into court unless they sought and gained special permission from the judiciary.
The protocol has been signed by the NSW Sheriff and NSW Police Commissioner and was developed in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of the District Court and the Chief Magistrate of the Local Court.
The change recognises Australia’s heightened terrorism alert and the risk posed to police, judicial officers and the community.
It ensures compliance by police with ALERT 2015, which requires that all on-duty officers carry firearms and appointments, and exercise heightened vigilance and situational awareness.
The NSW Sheriff will remain responsible for enforcing court security. The protocol will take effect on 10 August 2015 and its operation assessed in six months’ time or as needed in consultation with all parties.
Mr Grant said the new protocol will offer heightened protection for all court attendees while ensuring courts continue to operate effectively and independently.
“This is a common-sense approach at a time our nation faces a high terror alert and when we’ve seen police overseas become terror targets themselves,’’ Mr Grant said.
“This move has been the result of extensive, detailed negotiations and I am pleased the protocols have been agreed upon today.’’
Ms Upton welcomed the protocol to help protect people who attend or work at courts.
"I thank all of the parties involved in developing the new protocol for their cooperative and collaborative approach," Ms Upton said.