With high-tech body scanners, airport level X-ray machines and a fast-track lane for lawyers, the upgrade to the security system of NSW’s busiest courthouse is now complete.
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman praised the changes to the Downing Centre complex in the heart of the Sydney CBD, highlighting the improved high-tech screening procedures and 3D body scanners that now sit at the entrance of the courthouse.
It is the largest overhaul of the complex in almost 30 years. “3D scanning will improve dramatically the ability for Sheriff’s Officers to detect and seize dangerous items court users may attempt to bring to court,” Speakman said.
“Hundreds of people use the Downing Centre every day, which is why reducing bottlenecks at scanners during peak hours will make it easier and faster to enter the courthouse while also improve safety.”
Speakman said the newly installed aviation X-ray machines are considered “the best in the industry and will significantly boost security capabilities.”
The layout of the Downing Centre has also been adjusted to assist with the influx of people entering and exiting the complex.
For the first time ever, there is now a specific lane for legal practitioners and court staff to be screened and fast tracked through.
Additionally, the Justice of the Peace desk has been moved to the entrance, allowing people to get their documents witnessed or signed without having to line up for security.
Speakman said the reduction in foot traffic at the complex due to restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic – with more matters being heard virtually – made it an ideal time to improve the facilities.
“Carrying out the upgrade during a period of reduced in-person court sittings due to the pandemic has enabled the work to be completed quickly,” Speakman said.
The security upgrade was funded by the NSW Department of Community and Justice as part of their 2019/20 program to improve justice facilities across the state.