Weapons a problem at courthouses, say N.S. sheriffs

NSGEU holds province-wide meeting to discuss issues related to staff cuts and safety on the job.

Halifax (9 Aug. 2010) - Deputy sheriffs from Metro Halifax, Bridgewater, Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, Truro and Antigonish have met with the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) to discuss safety issues they face at work.

Speaking with NSGEU president Joan Jessome, the deputy sheriffs outlined issues they face every day at work and the negative impact of cuts in positions by the province.

"Far from decreasing the number of deputy sheriffs by 24, as the province has recently done, deputy sheriffs around the table described situations over and over again where they needed more staff to be safe — not fewer," the union reports. "Weapons are a big safety issue for those working in the courts and outside of the courts as they deliver court orders."

The Spring Garden Courthouse (in Halifax) is the only courthouse with a full time metal detector and scanner.

"So far this year they have found 858 weapons with the assistance of the detection equipment. Other rural courthouses have metal detectors but they sit in boxes the majority of the time unless a risk assessment is done that requires one be put into operation. Even when the risk is there, there usually are not enough staff on hand to operate the detectors," the union adds.

NSGEU will be working with members to strengthen the occupational health and safety committees in the 11 provincial districts and enhance the training for these committees.

The deputy sheriffs left with hundreds of promotional stickers and ribbons to take back to their workplaces that say "I support Nova Scotia's Deputy Sheriffs".

NSGEU president Joan Jessome with deputy sheriffs

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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