View Full Version : Manchester Airport Security

24th Sep 2003, 18:50
Corrupt police chief handles airport safety

The head of security at Manchester airport, is a former police chief with a criminal conviction for dishonesty.

John Donnison was a former chief inspector with Leicestershire police. Donnison pleaded guilty in January 2000 to 14 charges of false accounting, and ordered to perform 200 hours' community service for fiddling his police expenses over a three-year period.

Unioun leaders accuse the airport of gross hypocrisy in employing him. Security staff have a clause in their contract that allows the airport to summarily sack them if they have a criminal conviction.

Donnison is in charge of up to 700 staff and a total budget of reportedly more than £20m. He is believed to be on a salary of £70,000, £30,000 more than he earned as a police officer.

Phil Craven, Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) convenor at the airport, said: "Because of his past he has not got the integrity or the ability to build up the trust needed in the security department."

Manchester airport confirmed Donnison is head of security with the job title of fire and security services business manager. A spokeswoman said: "We are not going to talk about it. It's in the past and nothing to do with ability to do the job. I am not going to go there. It's not relevant."

Leicestershire police confirmed Donnison was a chief inspector working in the northern region at the time of the police investigation into his affairs. According to reports, he admitted inventing 236 car journeys to claim £1,200 while serving as an officer. A police spokeswoman said the investigation was taken "very seriously".

Hot Wings
24th Sep 2003, 20:42
Will he get an airside pass?

24th Sep 2003, 22:29
Yes I believe he has according to my contact, he is often seen loading the x ray machines because they are so short staffed
on security

25th Sep 2003, 17:29
Well he might have a security pass now, but possibly not for long.

If the rules are followed he will have to provide a basic disclosure by July 2004. Then if he has a disqualifying conviction it is bye bye ID.

bagpuss lives
25th Sep 2003, 23:52
Taking this away from the actual person in question for the moment as I don't want to get involved with that issue or comment upon it - will this sort of time elapsed conviction not be considered as "spent" -thus meaning a person in this situation would "pass" the Basic Disclosure process?

26th Sep 2003, 00:00
Having this guy as head of security at Manchester Airport is just typical of the management there......
Let's see what the "Disclosure" will do....could be quite amusing !

Does anyone know, by the way, why when you set off the metal detectors at the airport to go airside, you are subjected to what is increasingly becoming a more and more intimate hand search by one of the guys working there.

They do have hand held metal detectors, but just don't seem to use them. Why not?

I have NEVER been hand searched like that when I fly to the states. They all use hand held metal detectors and they work very well; actually pinpointing the metalic object that set off the buzzer in the first place. In Manchester, he frisks you, but probably still doesn't know what set the machine off....


26th Sep 2003, 00:49

You are correct about the Disclosure only detailing unspent convictions. The legislation which applies is the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

In this case I believe he was convicted in January 2000. The sentence was community service which becomes spent after 5 years (Jan 2005). As the individual concerned will need to provide a disclosure no later than July 2004, and as the offence (false accounting) is on the DfT list of disqualifying convictions it could, as you say be amusing.

More seriously should this individual be overseeing a department which will be removing Security passes from those who have disqualifying convictions when he himself is now deemed to be unsuitable to hold a pass himself?

Link to Rehabilitation periods (http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk/rehabact.htm)

Manchester Evening News Story about his conviction (http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/stories/Detail_LinkStory=28877.html)

List of Disqualifying Convictions (

bagpuss lives
26th Sep 2003, 01:59
Cheers for the info Nightmale :)

26th Sep 2003, 02:48
I clearly don't know enough about this case to say that this individual falls within the precise meaning of the regulation. However, if he does, I'd point out that:

"Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation...in any jurisdiction during the 10 years before the date of the individual's application for unescorted access authority" are also on the list of disqualifying criminal offenses in the US. Clearly, this chap is not applying to the US government for unescorted access authority, but the fact that US airports are reachable via direct flights from Manchester means that, for instance, the airside at JFK is only as secure as the airside at MAN. Same old problem (assuming unescorted access or the ability to approve the unescorted access of others)...

I'd certainly expect the public in the UK to be troubled if the Federal Security Director at JFK was employed despite the fact that he had a disqualifying criminal offense.

Considering the problems surrounding the security issue continues to be a tiring exercise.


Headset starter
26th Sep 2003, 05:02
On the subject of being frisked...

I started a few weeks ago working in PAX services, and as they wanted us to start straight away we had to get the "Unescorted" passes, which meant that every time we went through security, whether we set off the detector or not, we were subject to THE most personal frisk I have ever had in my extensive travelling life to date.

I know people need to be searched, but they could use the wand type things instead of feeling right up your inner thigh.

Makes me shudder just thinking about it.



bagpuss lives
26th Sep 2003, 05:24
On my increasingly infrequent trips airside I don't object to being frisked at all.

I'd rather be thoroughly searched and feel just a little safer that some scumbag hasn't smuggled God-knows what onto an aircraft than get to where I was going a few seconds earlier.

I'm sure we'd all be the first people to complain about the lack of adequate "frisking" should anything like that ever occur (God forbid)

26th Sep 2003, 06:10
I think you'll find that when the time comes,MAPLC will probably change the guys job description so that it no longer requires airside access,and he gets to keep his job.Hope they check his expenses though,once a tealeaf.........

26th Sep 2003, 06:28

I think you have missed my point.
I too do not object, in the slightest, to being searched. I would not expect anything less than an extensive and thorough search if I had set off machine.

What I do object to, though, is being hand searched (which is bordering on invading my own personal privacy) when there is a much more effective device (hand held detector) that would do the job far better without invading my personal space.

I don't object to being searched; I DO object to being touched up.

bagpuss lives
26th Sep 2003, 13:33
I agree that, if there's a more effective device available for the task then it should be used so in that respect - point well and truly taken.

On the "bat for the other side" comment - hmmmmmm. I find that a bit stereotypical / worrying to be honest.

Let's hope you meant it in misguided jest :)

26th Sep 2003, 16:41
If you think the searching is not effective and or offensive then file a complaint. And how's about giving the manager a break, one gets use to patronising and arrogant comments on these pages but you guys take the biscuit.

26th Sep 2003, 17:14

Sorry, may have missed something then. I haven't seen any patronising or arrogant comments on this thread yet.....
We are just saying that it is kind of ironic that the guy who heads the security department at Manchester airport is a convicted criminal.....


Also, sorry to you. Should have been a bit more PC. I was of course referring (in maybe a rather "stereotypical", but I assure you, in jest) way to security staff who may be homosexual. Personally, being heterosexual, I have a problem with being frisked, in that detail, by someone who maybe homosexual. So, nothing for you to "worry" about...ok?

26th Sep 2003, 17:43
Mon driver ,stand up staight man. the first hint of PC and you cave. Nothing wrong with the odd euphenism in life and "batting for the other side" is much nicer than "likes to put his @@@k up other mens b@@@@ms " now isnt it.

I'm more concerned about the minority all around us. That is ginger people. They take more abuse than any other group and dont have any support groups. No ginger and burnt orange police association is there.

I have a ginger friend who work sat man airport security and to date he hasnt done more than gently cup, so whats the problem.

:} :D

26th Sep 2003, 20:40
this guy does not deserdve 'a break'. He is a thoroughly unscrupulous, unpleasant person with a serious lack of integrity, who fails to command any respect. He has totally failed to give security staff 'a break' and only continues to make life unpleasant for them. Meanwhile the good guys were made redundant!

26th Sep 2003, 20:57

The police officer resigned in 1999 with a "clean" record and collected his golden hand-shake and pension.

In 2003 he has, as a convicted criminal with a decent pension, presumably his ill gotten gains from his crimes, and in the face of serious oposition secured the top job in security at Manchester.



Mr A Tis
27th Sep 2003, 00:06
without invading my personal space and giving any security who may "bat for the other side", a quick thrill.

Personally, being heterosexual, I have a problem with being frisked, in that detail, by someone who maybe homosexual.

Oh dear, very sad to read the ill-informed prejudiced comments above.
The jist of the threads argument / comments, for which I completely agree with, could have been made without any of these ignorant comments.
Don't flatter yourself. You imply if homosexuals were banned from security jobs then maybe it wouldn't be too bad after all.
In your comments you imply gays are part of the problem.
If that were not your intention, then I should withdraw those comments.

27th Sep 2003, 00:25
Mr A Tis
I think you have missed the point here.Male security are not allowed to search females and vice versa so why should gay people be allowed to search people of the same sex.I dont know if there are any gay security at MAN but if there are then it may constitute a personal violation.

27th Sep 2003, 01:56
Thank you CRAB
...at least some people actually read posts before coming on the board and flaming them.



I did not, and still DO NOT imply that any one of the security staff are homosexual.......

That is not the point.....

MY POINT was...(if you care to read it properly), that why should I be subjected to a rather personal body search by anyone...male/female/gay/straight or anything..... when there are better ways of doing it which does not violate my personal space....?

I would still have the same views if a female searched me.....


You make a comment on here.....and it is twisted and turned back on you with a completely different intention.

Let's grow up guys. Get with the point of the topic and GET A LIFE !

27th Sep 2003, 04:15
Personnally, I don't mind being frisked, and have never felt that the men doing it were taking any interest in the family jewels or other parts of my anatomy. I would however prefer it done by women :} . Although I'm afraid they would be as professional and uninterested as the men...:{ .
On a more serious note, I wonder what happens with children. Are they frisked? If they're not, this is a serious security risk. And if they are, what is the danger, in these times of moral and political correctedness, of security staff being wrongly accused of paedophilia by paranoid parents?

Mr A Tis
27th Sep 2003, 15:28
MON Driver, I'm afraid it is you completely missing the point.
You made very good points about the frisking issue, which, as I said, I agree entirely with you.

However, you detracted from a valid sensible reasoned argument by a couple of cheap homophobic jibes :(

27th Sep 2003, 17:22
Mr Tis

If I offended you, I apologise. I have ammended what I think caused you to take offence. My comment has no emphasise on sexuality, but merely personal invasion of space - by anyone.

It's as simple as that. I'm amazed so much is being read into this.

28th Sep 2003, 01:07
On the subject of frisking, I quite like a free massage first thing in the morning......

But seriously, Manchester security has been a serious mess for some time, has it not ?.

Making fraudulent travel claims for a relatively small amount was stupid, but there are many honest sould out there who have never been caught. For this a career was ruined, maybe he was an effective copper, and this second chance in life will push him to make effective changes to the security at Manchester..maybe.

Suggest that you wait and see the operational result of this appointment before getting knickers in a twist.

28th Sep 2003, 01:11
This thread has raised an issue which I was considering starting a thread on.

I have heard several complaints from different people using different airports about highly invasive 'security' checks on both men and women which have caused serious offense. In extreme cases the person being checked has even considered formal complaints of assult against the security staff.

Whilst the need for security is real there are many threads on PPRUNE that systematically rubbish the effectivness of security measures whilst alliagnatting the innocent.

Does anyone know for certain (no hearsay) what level of legal authority security staff have for personally invasive serches, or what the outcome would be of refusing to submit to a search that was considered demeaning or offensive?

28th Sep 2003, 01:13
The man systematically stole over a period of time while he was in a position of trust.

That's the bottom line.

Should he be put in position of trust again?

I think he shouldn't.


28th Sep 2003, 01:19

Yes he is a real master criminal .......


No legal requirement to submit to search that I am aware of. It is probably implicitly voluntary, on the basis of, refuse search = denied boarding = take the train...

28th Sep 2003, 04:50
Airport security staff have no statutory right to search people without the subjectís consent in the way that police officers can under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act under proscribed circumstances, or in the way that customs officers can as allowed by Excise and other Acts.

As has been said it is a case of submit to a search or donít travel; no different from entering a football ground or many political meetings where stewards or security officers are often on hand to carry out frisks of those entering.

If when passing through airport security you are selected for a body search you have the right to say Ďnoí. That would certainly mean they would not let you pass any further and they may even decide your refusal is suspicious and alert the police.

I do wonder at the effectiveness of a physical frisk the way it is carried out at UK airports. In the US the police usually demand that suspects stand facing a wall with legs spread apart. Even that does not always lead to a one hundred per cent certain search. A full strip search is the only way to be virtually sure that someone has been thoroughly searched, and that can be unpleasant for both searched and searcher.

Clearly, that is not a realistic exercise at airports so we are left with a compromise Ė not a very effective compromise in my view.

I know many people find being searched by a stranger, especially in public view of numerous other strangers as happens at airports, humiliating and thoroughly unpleasant. That is why security staff have to be continually reminded of this, and their supervisors must ensure that the searchers always act with the utmost tact, discretion and sympathy.

Being boorish and running roughshod over customers at the altar of the god of security will not do. In fairness, my experience with UK airport security staff is that in the main they do act properly and sensibly. Unfortunately, the few that donít always attract a disproportionate amount of attention and publicity.