View Full Version : What To Do If I Spot A Serious Security Breach ?

mr Q
21st Sep 2004, 05:08
At Manila Airport (NAIA Airport actually)recently at one of the airside security checkpoints ( cannot remember the gate numbers, they includes those gates invariably used by CX ) saw the most elementary breach of security. A cleaner went through the metal detector but deftly pushed her mop bucket (plastic) and contents (unknown but a mop handle (plastic) was visible!!) round the outside of the detector. I say deftly because the speed and manner with which she did it indicated it was an automatic movement and a familiar one. In other words to save time and inconvenience each time she passed she did this. Response from the security ?? Nil response. Well not exactly.Response to her greeting ?? Friendly. Response to the security breach ? Nil .The bucket and contents had become part of the furniture. At the same location different dates saw security staff being distracted by various things including but not limited to a tap on the shoulder from a fellow employee which resulted in the monitor swivelling his chair 180 degrees away from the screen for 2-3mts, the presence in the passenger queue of a "bold movie starlet",arguments with members of the entourage of a minor politician.Saw people being handed airport passes(type unknown) at the airport entrance and saw boxes too big to even pass through the scanners but being allowed through, into the airport, unchecked.
Question One. What should I do ?? Complain to the Airport Authorities and be arrested or apprehended myself ?? Refuse to board the aircraft and be left stranded airside ??
Question Two.If I complain to the Airline (sayCX) will they take the complaint seriously though they are not responsible for the relevant security though the lapse may cost them dearly??
Question Three. Am I just another paranoid passenger who should mind my own business, leave these matters in the (capable ??) hands of the "Experts" and relax knowing that my safety and that of my fellow passengers and the aircraft and crew are of paramount importance to those experts.

21st Sep 2004, 06:06
I spot a security breaches every time I fly. eg. People carry, pens, pencils, etc.

Anyone wearing socks or tights, is a risk. Take it off and get something small and heavy, you then have a deadly weapon. That is before I get on board.

After I board, and seated in 1st or business, if I'm lucky, then I am presented with quiet a few weapons, that would be taken off from me at security.

Shall I go on?

21st Sep 2004, 07:10
These days even 3-years-old terrorist knows that detectors are not designed to detect bomb which is metal-free.

And every employee who have an airside pass with suffiecient privileges for secure/clean areas access knows (or at least will know if starts to think about it) how to bring everything-you-can-imagine to secure area.

And I talking about big western airports, not Dark Africa airstrips.

mr Q
21st Sep 2004, 16:36
Cargo One:
Point taken. So which option U suggest I take ???
I was not suggesting for one moment that the bucket and/or mop were going to be smuggled aboard !!!
What option do you suggest I take ???????

21st Sep 2004, 17:23
A good question. Would have to be option no 2 of your of your post. Tricky one though. These fanatics will never stop me flying, thatís for sure.

As you imply, everyone is so on edge, if you bring it to any security personnelís attention, you are bound to be arrested, yourself. Eg. be charged with distracting secuity personals' attention.

The point I was trying to put across is, there will never be 100% security. A lot can be done, but a determined fanatic (hope to God I'm wrong) has a good chance of succeeding.

The fact that random, as apposed to total searches, are in place means there are large holes in the system. Some, as you have pointed out, are glaringly obvious.

The real weak links, I am sure are the ones you and I don't see. People can walk on and off and A/C airside at will, in counties in Europe, so in the part of the world you are referring to, well...

IMHO we have more chance of dying in a prang than by an outrageous act, by some fanatic, at the moment. Let us hope and pray, it stays that way.

21st Sep 2004, 17:40
The airline is actually responsible for ensuring that security regulations are being adhered to at an airport. As I am aware an airline is required to conduct annual security audits at its stations. I suggest you notify the airline, and cc it to the security division of the nation in which the aircraft is registered, thus ensuring action is taken.

21st Sep 2004, 17:46
Travelling back to Manchester from Dusseldorf last Friday, passing through security at around 1750, I was staggered by a breach I saw.

The German security staff were being extremely thorough on x-raying hand luggage, one piece at a time, and were strict to ensure that each person passed through the metal detector singularly.

The area was busy, with about a 5 - 10 minute wait. A lady at the back of the queue attracted the attention of a Lufthansa employee to help her through as she was late and the flight was boarding. The employee took herself and the lady straight through the metal detector complete with jacket and handbag. The detector beeped, but the Lufthansa emplyee just waved the person on without regard to the security staff and they disappeared in the direction of passport control.

The colleague travelling with me was as surprised to see this as I was.

21st Sep 2004, 19:07
Mr. Q. Try a common sense approach (though I do admit that common sense and security are uneasy bed-persons) and work through your options with care and, preferably, witnesses:

1. If the security breech that you observe is manifest and you believe that your personal security is really at risk, go for the security supervisor. If you do, decide beforehand if this is serious enough for you to decide you don't want to travel.

2. If the breech does not give rise to such a "clear and present danger" try to dump it on somebody else (but always get their name). Suitable people are provided by the airline that you are traveling with. "Pointing out a possible problem with local procedures" might generate less problems for you than "there has been a breech of security".

3. Alternatively, as has been pointed out, make a considered (i.e. non-hysterical) report to the airline and security people after you get home.

4. Always remember that what you see as a security breech may not be one in actual fact (or accepted to be one) and that security people invariably have a lot of power as well as the ability to make your life a misery without - broadly speaking - being answerable to anyone. Proceed with care depending upon where you are. If they decide you are a problem person, they can make life very difficult.

21st Sep 2004, 21:42
Don't report it - ever, especially not in the U.S..

Sorry to be Kafkaesque about this but given that both airline and government security staff are not very bright, there is every chance that at least one of about three things happening:

Your good intentions will result in your being labelled a "trouble maker" and get you earmarked for special security screening whenever you fly.

You are accused of actually being in league with terrorists for collecting and analysing information on security procedures. You now make the "No fly" list.

You are abused in public for having the temerity to question the authorities.

I could go on about the breaches I've seen even on my infrequent trips. In addition, the latest photgraphic "flight crew Identification" issued to me as a student pilot is no different to that issued to the holder of an ATPL licence - that has GOT to be a mistake!

Just act like a good sheep. Go with the flow, and never, ever mention terrorism or hijacking withing five miles of an airport.

22nd Sep 2004, 04:34
Mr Q, in the situation you describe i would suggest you make a note of security breaches and then when you get home contact the airline and the airport explaining what happened, although they probably know already.

Also, re Sunfish's comments, you may wish to do this anonymously.

22nd Sep 2004, 08:30
To add to Sunfish's comments:

Don't even complement security on doing a good job, where you see one done... Thorough computer checking, efficient arms and weapons body check, whatever.... That also get you added to the suspect persons lists.. and guarantees the 4 S's on your boarding passes in the states (full security ritual).

Silence and in case of an event - whatever self-defense is possible are the best suvival kits available

23rd Sep 2004, 11:42
How about a stewardess working on a very well know american airline's service, sitting at the back of the a/c knitting in the pax cabin? Do her very large knitting needles constitute a security breach? I think so!

B Sousa
23rd Sep 2004, 14:45
"How about a stewardess working on a very well know american airline's service, sitting at the back of the a/c knitting in the pax cabin? Do her very large knitting needles constitute a security breach? I think so!"
TAWS, you have breeched security. Actually that was a U.S. Sky Marshall in disguise. She was trained in the Ancient Art of Ken-Po Darning Needle fighting. You were actually well protected on that flight.

I also think if you check on the TSA site (www.tsa.gov) prohibited items that Knitting Needles are permissable......Might not believe that, but check it out. Cant take a brand new Zippo lighter with no fluid in checked bags though

24th Sep 2004, 12:49
Its great fun. I work at Heathrow and hilarious to see their security. A girl gets stopped with a pair of small scissors, however, a man walks upto me at the gate and just about to board the aircraft says - I'm not sure if I am allowed this onboard... he was carrying a large approx 20cm metal corkscrew.

This is after passing through the scanners, metal detectors and the secondary search at the gate room!!

Wahoo for security! But, I suppose they pick up bombs on the x-ray machines. Well I hope!

There are so many places in Heathrow which are security threats as well, like unlocked cupboards and empty storage areas which are hardly ever checked or used. Although there are cameras about, I don't think they have enough to watch all these places. Its crazy when you think about it sometimes! Its sometimes frightening to know you work in such an unsecure place which is such a high profile security threat.

Just re-reading my post.... every intelligence agency is probably looking at it too, loads of 'key' words like bomb, Heathrow, security. :E :E :E

flaps to 60
25th Sep 2004, 16:26
Mr Q

Tell someone infact tell two people incase the first one is stupid.

This is a serious matter and its better to have said something and found to be wrong than watching it on the news when you get home.........if you get home that is.

I do it all the time and the reaction is anywhere between apathy and action. Where i find the former i kick them until they do something. I now sit a the pointy end and somehow it all feels a little more critical to be aware.
Just re-reading my post.... every intelligence agency is probably looking at it too, loads of 'key' words like bomb, Heathrow, security

Hopefully they are and have learned something....hopefully.