Fears raised over gang violence around London courts

The union which represents magistrates' staff has issued a warning about gang violence in and around London courts.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union said: "Someone will die if action isn't take immediately".

A Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman said it was "working proactively to reduce incidents".

Between October 2010 and September 2011 there were 28 episodes of violence and serious threats around London courts, according to London courts services.

Minutes of the London courts services' gang handling strategy working group said the 28 instances took place in Brent, Croydon, Enfield, Haringey, Hendon, Inner London, Stratford, and Thames courts.

Weapons used included a six-inch blade, a baseball bat, and a screwdriver, it said.

In a letter to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service's London director Alan Eccles, PCS union officer Lois Austin said: "Our luck is going to run out, we cannot wait until someone's life is taken."

A spokesman for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service said: "HMCTS works proactively to reduce incidents at courts across London.

"This includes close liaison with the Metropolitan Police, intelligence sharing and provision of special arrangements where necessary.

"We take the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and have a rigorous system in place, including mandatory bag searches, bag scanners, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, to ensure the safety of all court users."

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