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Knives confiscated from people in court—then handed back!

PUBLISHED: 12:38 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 05 October 2010

PEOPLE are routinely turning up at court carrying knives, an East London Advertiser investigation has found. The weapons are routinely confiscated by security staff at Thames Magistrates’ court, but then handed back when the knife owners leave the building—just a stone’s throw from Bow police station

EXCLUSIVE by Julia Gregory

PEOPLE are routinely turning up at court carrying knives, an East London Advertiser investigation has found.

The weapons are routinely confiscated by security staff at Thames Magistrates’ court, but then handed back when the knife owners leave the building—just a stone’s throw from Bow police station.

The practice was uncovered in a Freedom of Information’ request which revealed 38 people had turned up to the courthouse in the Bow Road last year carrying knives.

As many as 27 of the 38 knives confiscated were actually handed back afterwards—because the blades were less than the 3½ins long, which is legally permitted to be carried.

Both East End MPs representing Tower Hamlets were surprised at the findings.

Bethnal Green & Bow MP George Galloway told the Advertiser: “I am amazed so many people have been found with knives when attending court, of all places, and even more amazed police feel duty bound to return them.”

Poplar & Canning Town MP and Government transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “I am concerned at the number of knives confiscated and about anybody carrying an implement that could injure people.”

There were 92 crimes involving knives in Tower Hamlets between April and July last year.

Other items confiscated included bottles, syringes, needles, razors, metal combs, darts, screw-drivers and scissors.

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