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Screening Officer Powers / Authorisations

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Screening Officer Powers / Authorisations

Old 28th Oct 2013, 06:18
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Queensland
Age: 38
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Screening Officer Powers / Authorisations

I know there are numerous threads in relation to airport security screening and the various levels of discrepancy between various ports and screening officers however I am unable to find a thread that answers my following question.

When a suspected or prohibited item is detected in carry on luggage, does the screening officer have the right to proceed to open your bag without first obtaining your consent to do so?

I have looked at both the Transport Security Act and the Transport Security Regulations but I am unable to find an answer to my question in the documents (unless they are in plain sight and I am overlooking it). I can see references to items of clothing and frisk searches but nothing about their authority in relation to the handling of carry-on baggage other than the requirement for it to be screened.

If someone can point me in the direction of a reference that provides an answer to this it would be appreciated.
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 08:03
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: WA
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They should:
1. Greet you,
2. Ask "are these your personal effects", and
3. Ask for your permission to search your effects.

You can refuse which will mean you cannot proceed past the screening point.
Once you permit the search to take place, the item being searched remains under control of the screener not the person who is being screened. Therefore the search will generally take place out of your reach.

They are also required to ask your permission before subjecting you to an explosives trace detection (ETD) but are getting lazy these days and just call you over and begin testing you and your bag.

Specifics of the procedure are contained within the aviation screening notices which are not published.

Last edited by YPJT; 28th Oct 2013 at 08:14.
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 09:07
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Auckland
Age: 31
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Spot on. Usually when you approach the load person at the bench and place your bag on that bench you are complying with having your bag screened. If there is a prohibited item seen on the X-ray we then identify the owner, ask for consent to search the bag. This is actually saying "can I look in your bag" and not " I need to look in your bag" which everyone says, so keep us on our toes and turn around and say "well no you can't"

If this is the case we would usually look at you strangely to which you'd say, "you need my permission/consent first".

Everything we do, we need YOUR consent first. And that random pat down that you all hate, it is random. I don't know you from a bar of soap. I've never seen you before so don't claim I'm picking on you.

Generally I'm pretty relaxed, I know you guys hate us getting in ya business or stopping you from time to time, it's just the Job I'm paid to do. It pays for my flying so I'm not to bothered.

In saying that not all pax are that bad, but some get really stroppy and throw tantrums.. That's where things get fun
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 09:36
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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What about checked baggage; depending on the airport it's screened, but is it opened?
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 09:53
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Auckland
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Goes through a process to find out what's in it. If they can't do that it's pulled to side and passenger is tracked down by airline so that it can be searched. Same deal
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 10:29
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Thank you for your replies, especially to Rbwoonton for giving a perspective on what happens on the otherside of the scanner. It answers what I thought was the case in regards to needing consent to open a person's bag.

I just want ensure though Rbwoonton that the information you have provided is applicable to Australia as I noticed your profile lists your location as Auckland.
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 11:11
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Auckland
Age: 31
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Id imagine that australia operate the same way though I cant be 100% certain..

Last thing id encourage is challenging them if your not within your own rights haha it might not end well.

Edit: il find out tomorrow at work if they need consent or not.

Last edited by Rbwoonton; 28th Oct 2013 at 11:16.
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 15:49
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: WA
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Yup same procedure in Aus for checked baggage. They cannot open it without you being present. At the airports I have been involved with you can probably count on one hand the number of times that has occurred in a 12 month period.

Thanks Rbwoonton under the ATSRs, reg 4.18a requires the following sign to be displayed at the screening point:

WARNING!
Screening point in operation
A person at this screening point is taken, by law, to have consented to undergo a screening procedure (except a frisk search), unless the person refuses to undergo the screening procedure. A person who refuses to undergo a screening procedure will not be allowed through the screening point.

So if you wanted to question the screeners authority you would most likely be shown this sign in case you hadn't already seen it.

screeners are working hard to change their public perception. There might be one or two who still have a bit of attitude but overall whether at a major airport or a small regional they are pretty good. That the pax and crews are now well and truly used to the process helps as does the fact that many who go through screening often know the regs better than they do.
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