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The public is always welcome to watch the debates when the legislature is sitting, or visit the chamber when the House is not in session. Legislative buildings are staffed with security officers who will check you in when you arrive.
If the legislature is in session, visitors enter the building through the lower level and are screened through security and given a pass before heading upstairs to the chamber. Bags may be searched and large backpacks may be held at the security desk while you watch the debates. Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the public gallery in the chamber.
If the legislature is not sitting, visitors enter the building through the main doors and check in at the security desk before heading to the chamber.
The Director of Security for the Legislative Assembly also holds the position of Sergeant-At-Arms, which has a long history in our parliamentary tradition. It began in the early years of the British Parliament, when mace-bearing members of the Royal bodyguard were assigned to attend the Speaker at sittings of the House of Commons in London.
The Sergeant-At-Arms still carries a mace into the Assembly today, leading the Speaker's procession into the chamber at the start of every sitting day, but today's Mace is a ceremonial symbol rather than a weapon. Without the Mace present in the chamber, the House could not exercise its rights, claim its privilege, or perform its parliamentary functions.
Besides bearing the Mace during the daily procession into the House, the Sergeant-At-Arms is responsible for the security of the Speaker, Members, and the Legislative Assembly buildings. This carries the responsibility of implementing and enforcing the security policies of the Legislative Assembly to provide a safe and secure environment for MLAs and Assembly staff to perform their work duties.
During a sitting, the Sergeant-At-Arms has the assistance of an eight-member Legislative Assembly Security Force in the delivery of security services to the Legislative Assembly, located in the Hon. George Coles Building, J. Angus MacLean Building, and at 197 Richmond Street.