Metal detectors being installed at N.S. courthouse

Workplace safety complaint filed by Crown attorneys

Following workplace safety complaints by Crown attorneys, Nova Scotia announced it is installing a permanent walkthrough metal detector at the Dartmouth Provincial Court. And at least two additional deputy sheriffs will be hired and trained to operate the device, said Justice Minister Ross Landry.

"The increased volume of work at this courthouse means having a metal detector on a permanent basis is now appropriate," said Landry. "Operating the permanent metal detector will control access and increase the level of security at one of our busiest provincial courts."

Provincial Courts in Halifax and Dartmouth are the two busiest in the province. The province said the volume of hearings has doubled in Halifax and Dartmouth since 2005.

Deputy sheriffs at all provincial courts perform a daily threat risk assessments and provide security tailored for that day. Recently, the threat risk assessments at the Dartmouth court have shown portable metal detectors need to be used more frequently.

In addition to hiring two deputy sheriffs, other staff will also be hired, and scheduled as required, to accommodate the fluctuating demand of court operations, the province said.

In March, Crown attorneys filed a complaint with the Department of Labour over what they called lax security at courthouses in the Halifax area. The complaint, filed by the Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys Association, said the lack of security created an “unacceptable hazard” for anyone in the building.

One Crown attorney told CBC news earlier this year that more than 1,600 weapons had been seized at the doors of provincial court building in Halifax.

“In our view, it’s a very unsafe environment,” said Rick Woodburn. “It’s unsafe for Crown attorneys, it’s unsafe for the public to be here. We already have evidence. We already have people convicted of assaulting Crown attorneys, convicted of assaulting people in this courthouse.”

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