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Captain's LHR Security rant - LH4729/05Dec

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Captain's LHR Security rant - LH4729/05Dec

Old 12th Dec 2009, 16:03
  #161 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Lancing, Sussex
Age: 88
Posts: 255
Scurity Rant

As mere SLF we wonder about the basis for searches. I would be interested to know how many 77 year old white women hijackers or terrorists there have been, my wife fits that category
Political correctness stops any form of profiling, and the fact that you have a valid commercial pilots licence and could kill 150 passengers easily if you chose does not count.
Exnomad is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2009, 16:31
  #162 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Esher, Surrey
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My wife, a white pensioner was asked to remove her shoes prior to going through the hoop when exiting the USA.
She protested that she cannot walk flat footed. That caused confusion.
The supervisor was called and eventually it was sorted out.
When he was asked " Why are people in trainers allowed to walk through with them on but my wife has to remove her shoes?"
This very outsized supervisor was not amused, could not answer the question and started to change his approach to us so we backed off.

So what is the aim of the security checks?
Obviously to stop a list of items not being taken on board but surely it is also to reassure all that this is being achieved.

Re the reassurance aspect, I recall that trainers were involved in a high profile case.
( I assume trainers are exempt as they do not have any metal in their soles)

Needless to say the USA is not on our holiday list.
beamender99 is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2009, 17:51
  #163 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 412
Pax security

In reply to "Bills" and quoting TSA procedures for boarding a US aircraft/airline.

When did TSA law,statute,regulations or procedures etc appear enforceable on mainland UK, before you enter a US registerd aircraft. The searches take place within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, which has supremacy within the UK.

No doubt TB & GB agreed in our absence
Trinity 09L is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2009, 19:43
  #164 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: this side of the hill
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Last summer a very friendly security officer at BRU managed to push my Swiss army knive aside in order to fetch a bottle of aftershave which was too big. My wife had packed the bags and I didn't know she put my personal hygiene stuff in my handbag. The knive went with me into the cabin but I had to buy some new Aqua Velva.
garp is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2009, 21:29
  #165 (permalink)  
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Age: 50
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And now for something completely different....

The latest "one" from Gatwick security (non BAA now) ..... on asking why individual letters/books/note pad were being checked/flicked thru and read after being removed from my bag .... the clever little terrorists in the Afghan caves have devised a bomb that looks like a piece of paper.... what happens if they disguise it as the gen dec???

Alwaysairbus is offline  
Old 12th Dec 2009, 21:39
  #166 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I’ve read through most of the posts on this thread and there seems to be a wide ranging feeling by those who frequent this site that airport security issues are well beyond what is considered as “necessary” in many countries … mostly in the UK and the USA. Some have voiced opinions that the methods by which “security” is carried out is too varied or too inconsistent to be effective … and some say that the claim of “randomness” is obviously untrue. The fact is that most decisions that are made by those “in charge” are made by those who have had, or are familiar with, circumstances that have formed their own opinions. Many of those opinions are what I call “dangerously” politically correct … and some are on the other end of the spectrum.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions – and this method of “venting” is, without a doubt, a very effective means of voicing those frustrations instead of winding up in handcuffs or behind bars someplace. The bottom line is that security personnel have a job to do … and they have such a job because those who have been either elected or appointed to issue rules and regulations regarding public safety have determined that airline travel can be, and has been, used to inflict a lot of damage to a lot of people and things. No one is likely to argue that fact … a mental picture of the twin trade towers collapsing on themselves should dissuade anyone from such an argument. Will a security guard nailing an 80-year old woman for attempting to carry fingernail clippers through the screening area prevent another “9/11?” No. Will a security guard forcing you to throw away your recently purchased bottle of water prevent another hijacking? Of course not. But the point – the only relative point – is that complete security and complete freedom are incompatible end points. You can have complete security OR you can have complete freedom. You cannot have both. So, there are compromises made … a sacrifice of some freedom for some security. Want more security? You need to let go of some additional freedom. I would submit that, in some cases at least, what has to be let go is the “politically correct” motivations. Selective and pointed profiling can be an effective security measure … or it can continue to be seen as an improper (illegal??) grouping of persons based on an identifiable grouping criteria.
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Old 12th Dec 2009, 22:02
  #167 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Posts: 57
Air Rabbit - you skirt over the crux of the problem and bestow the virtues that are not a problem.

No one here has written that security should go.

Your argument is specious.

By skipping lightly over the fanatacism of security staff to make the jobs of other airport staff as difficult as possible, you belittle a problem that affects all roles and all aspects of airport operations.

You may have read a lot of the posts but you've clearly missed the point(s).
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Old 12th Dec 2009, 22:39
  #168 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Air Rabbit,

No one denies that security is necessary.

The parameters are constantly changing. For example metal cutlery is back in vogue as being acceptable once again. I have a garden shed full of aging Sears hedge trimmers and leaf blowers and strimmers, all brought back on the flight deck from the USA but these can no longer be carried.

For the pilots it is a constant frustration that we are sometimes treated with more suspicion than some of our passengers. Clearly we do not need weapons to fly airplanes into buildings, we are provided with the weapon and the access to it. Stopping us from carrying even a leatherman is a pointless exercise. Although provided with a fire axe in the flight deck we would not need to use it. All we would need to do is to simply deny our colleague access back into the flight deck in cruise when he comes back from his toilet break.

Security at JFK failed to stop the accident of an Egyptian 767 from JFK-CAI. Even if they had stripsearched the copilot and banned him from carrying his briefcase onto the flight deck it would not have made any difference to that accident.

Sadly the people in charge of writing security rules in the UK stop us taking our wives on the flight deck even though we have known them for twenty years. However we can take a steward on the flight deck who is returning from holiday even though we do not know him and he has only had 6 months in the company. The rules are clearly written by people with a committee mentality who are unable to distinguish the difference in the methods that passengers and pilots can use to jeopardise an aircraft. Pilots and passengers are therefore treated in the same manner which is ridiculous.
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Old 12th Dec 2009, 23:18
  #169 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
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What all the proponents of the current security regime conveniently forgets, or are unaware of, is that those who perpetrated 911 did not carry any prohibited items.

They where checked and considered as no risk by the then security regime.

The current 'don't think you are anyone special' attitude serves no security purpose whatsoever. The only purpose is to bolster the self asteem of the petty and insecure.
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Old 12th Dec 2009, 23:37
  #170 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Canberra
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Rules v Animal Magnetism

BillS (post #162) makes a compelling case that the rules completely define who gets selected for extra screening. BillS then (post #166) makes an equally compelling case that it is largely due to animal magnetism - N attracts S for dogs but N attracts N for cats - being largely responsible for who cops it. I believe at least one of BillS's cases must be wrong, and suspect they both are.
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 00:34
  #171 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: UK
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BillS (post #162) makes a compelling case that the rules completely define who gets selected for extra screening.
The rules define a subset of those selected - they by no means define all!
So a person who is "obviously" (to some) no possible threat will still be selected.

You may still be selected entirely at the whim of security or just because they don't like what you are saying to them - saying not by verbal communication but by your expressions and body language as you walk up.

BillS then (post #166) makes an equally compelling case that it is largely due to animal magnetism - N attracts S for dogs but N attracts N for cats - being largely responsible for who cops it. I believe at least one of BillS's cases must be wrong, and suspect they both are.
Not magnetism at all - simply non-verbal communication.
You have trained them to recognise those that dislike them and consider them animals or "numpties". They are given the power and authority to respond - to bite - and some do!

So when you approach, smile and adopt a non-threatening attitude.

If they poke their fingers in your underpants, either ignore it or thank them sweetly but if you react with anger you reinforce that unwelcome behaviour.

Show your appreciation if they do their job in an agreeable manner.

Perhaps they then will be trained to respect.

The best animal training is based on operant conditioning. In the training situation, the animal is an “operator,” an active participant who exhibits a behavior to which the trainer then responds. The consequences which follow a behavior directly influence the frequency with which the behavior will be repeated. Training is very much a two-way communication process.

The trainer’s response to the animal will either increase or decrease the likelihood that a given behavior will reoccur. If a behavior is followed by something that the animal likes, the probability that the behavior will occur again is increased. If the trainer’s response is not agreeable, the animal eventually will tend to avoid that particular behavior.

Positive reinforcement is always the most effective means of influencing behavior - both for man & beast.
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 01:28
  #172 (permalink)  
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From one extreme to another. BRU ignores a knife yet confiscates the After Shave lotion. Last month at DUB I was given a 'pat down' after removing my shoes and belt; at CDG 'security' insisted that my passport be xray'd together with my horn rimed reading glasses!! Was it because it was a flight to North America?

Why is paper and glass so interesting I wonder?
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 01:32
  #173 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Georgia
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what a lot of warm air!

nine pages of blubbering , blustery rants - 4 or 5 posts of constructive ideas, and 10 pilots (i'm sure) are going to be strip searched on the next trip!
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 06:32
  #174 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
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I think this whole problem and it's cause can be summarised by the following:

A whole sector of the workforce, who otherwise in life have had no experience of exercising authority outside of their own homes, have suddenly found a niche where through a few hours of powerpoint and a background check can obtain an SIA licence and thus employment in a role that commands a disproportionate amount of authority to the aptitude of the person fulfilling it.

The armed forces and other organisations have rigourous selection processes that show whether somebody is able to use judgement with the authority they may have bestowed upon them. Security in the UK is a different kettle of fish though - any numpty can do it provided their CRB check is unblemished and they have no psychological issues.

I think the "fence post tortoise" analogy goes a long way to describe this phenomenon.

Edit: Possible solution...Up the stakes and criteria required to fulfil the role. Make the position in need of an SIA Close protection licence as opposed to a bog standard licence to wear a Hi viz jacket. At least with the CP licencees a large proportion will be ex-forces who took the course as resettlement - only to realise the "circuit" aint that easy to get on. At least they will have more discipline and discretion of judgement embedded in them.
It would never happen though, at the moment it's the equivilent of airside PCSOs.
x213a is offline  
Old 13th Dec 2009, 08:29
  #175 (permalink)  
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I think that the idea that airport security staff are ex-forces is excellent and worth pursuing.An inate,through selection and disciplined,through training to security issues and respect for the travelling public/professional aircrew is more likely.

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Old 13th Dec 2009, 08:54
  #176 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
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"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - Who watches the security guards?

The Times reports:-

"Ten members of a suspected Islamist terror cell, said by MI5 to be plotting to blow up a shopping centre and a nightclub in Manchester, had been granted permission by the Home Office to work as security guards in Britain.
It has now emerged that in the months before the alleged plot, the men were given licences to work as security guards by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Home Office body that regulates the private security industry. They all passed a vetting programme designed to bar criminals and undesirables from taking up sensitive security posts protecting airports, ports and Whitehall buildings from terrorist attack. When arrested, two of the students were working for a cargo firm which had access to secure areas at Manchester airport."
....enough said.
Times On Line Manchester terror suspects cleared to work as guards - Times Online

Last edited by korrol; 13th Dec 2009 at 08:55. Reason: surplus code
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 08:57
  #177 (permalink)  
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X213A. You have raised some valid points.....BUT. The security industry are famous for not overpaying staff, and training is so poor as to be not there, get your badge training finished.....
I work in a secure building (civil service!!) & our security are all ex SAS if you listen to them I think it has something to do with sitting on your own all night for minimum wage.
But instead of looking down on them I go out of my way to talk to them, that way I don't have any probs with security. So instead of moaning about little men with a big badge why not come down to the ground stop being a wage snob and level the playing field a little????
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 09:08
  #178 (permalink)  
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The wage differential and any suggestion of snobbery is not really valid. The fact remains that disproportionate authority is bestowed on a significant number of people who have no other experience of having, or exercising it.

In April you could have somebody enticed off the benefits system after years of loafing - then they are offered an SIA course from the jobseekers, by May they can be stood at the head of a security line barking orders safe in the knowledge they will be backed up regardless of lack of tact or judgement. I work in the security industry, I see first hand the issue I am trying to describe. It's an area of work either taken up by people supplementing their pensions or by people who just happen to be doing that job at the time. They could be stacking shelves in Tesco next week for all they care. In my experience, there is a very definate gradient of attitude across the board with the different stereotypes the industry attracts.

But instead of looking down on them I go out of my way to talk to them
The way that attitude is received will be wholly dependent on the attitude of the security. If they respect you and understand the concepts of authority then it will most likely be reciprocated. If they are of the ilk I have described then the level that their mind works on will probably interpret your good manners as "sucking up to them".
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 09:16
  #179 (permalink)  
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They all passed a vetting programme designed to bar criminals and undesirables from taking up sensitive security posts protecting airports, ports and Whitehall buildings from terrorist attack. When arrested, two of the students were working for a cargo firm which had access to secure areas at Manchester airport

Thanks korrol, thats the cherry on the cake. Just brilliant. All the while, batallions of state employees do conferences, meetings, brochures and scientific surveys on how much liquid we are allowed to cary, if 92,6ml or 95,3ml is the deadly line we shall not cross.

Osama bin Laden has won flat out, he holds all sane people on this planet in tight custody.

On the subject of pay, I´m sure there quite a few people making quite a penny, hence they fuel the need of security and ever tighter levels of it.
Ask your local mp what kind of rewards he gets from them.

How long is the public taking this?

So instead of moaning about little men with a big badge why not come down to the ground stop being a wage snob and level the playing field a little?
You got to be kidding? 'wage snob'???? I do my job, they do theirs. IF they bent rules, make up their own rules and behave like idiots, then I´m the 'wage snob' ? I don´t think anyone here has trouble with security personell doing a professional job, but what we sometimes have to put with is just insane - there a plenty of examples. Thats the people I moan about plus a set of rules that is just stupid, but thats a discussion I personally don´t have with frontline staff.
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Old 13th Dec 2009, 09:27
  #180 (permalink)  
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Turn the issue around a little...

It could be argued that your authority and confidence bestowed in you by passengers is being grossly undermined by being publically rebuked by certain security personnel.
It does not look good to see a pilot in uniform, and thus displaying their credentials and trust the airline, and aviation industry has put into them being belittled by a bloke whose sole qualification could be as little as having never broke the law in the past 5 years.
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