Guns allowed in court following terror threats

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NSW police will be allowed to carry guns into the courtroom, following protocol changes made by the state government announced yesterday.

Previously, police were prohibited from wearing or carrying their firearms into court buildings, but under the current terror threat, police will be allowed to arm themselves at all times.  The changes will come into effect on Monday of next week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.

“The change recognises Australia's heightened terrorism alert and the risk posed to the police, judicial officers and the community,” said deputy premier and police minister Tony Grant told the Herald.

“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.”

The Police Association of NSW has been campaigning for changes to the protocol since September last year, the association’s president, Scott Weber, publically argued that the police were concerned for their safety following terror-related threats.  Webber said that judges are not always able to control what happens in the “pressure cooker” environment of court houses.

“Some members of the judiciary must be stuck in the past,” he said. “Tradition does not dictate no weapons in the Local Court.  It is an archaic system from higher courts and times have changed.  When these traditions developed, there were no credit card knives, no ceramic edged weapons, no 3D printed edged weapons or firearms.”