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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 146:  Retention of knives surrendered or seized: England and Wales

660.Sections 54 to 56 of the Courts Act 2003 set out grounds for the surrender, seizure and retention of certain articles carried by persons entering court buildings. In particular, section 55 provides, with certain exceptions, that seized or surrendered items must be returned when the owner leaves the court building.

661.Subsection (3) of section 146 inserts a new section 55A, into the Courts Act 2003, to provide a different procedure for the retention of all knives that have been surrendered to, or seized by, a court security officer. New section 55A(2) provides that section 55 does not apply where a knife is seized by or surrendered to a court security officer. Under new section 55A, knives must be retained, unless returned or disposed of in accordance with regulations under section 55A(5) or 56.

662.New section 55A(4) provides that, if the court security officer reasonably believes that a retained knife may be evidence of, or in relation to, an offence, he or she can retain the knife for so long as necessary to enable the court security officer to draw it to the attention of a police constable.

663.Under new section 55A(5), the Lord Chancellor must make provision in regulations, subject to the negative resolution procedure, for the procedure to be followed when a knife is retained, the making of requests for the return of retained knives and the procedure for the return of knives. Under section 56, regulations can make provision about the disposal of unclaimed knives.

664.New section 55A(6) states that the definition of a knife includes “a knife-blade and any other article which (a) has a blade or is sharply pointed, and (b) is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person”.

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