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Trousers Off Please

Old 15th Feb 2011, 18:39
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Trousers Off Please

From the blog of David Allen Green

Sunday, 13 February 2011
My Trousers and Airport Security

Late one recent Saturday evening, I am standing at a departure gate at Heathrow Airport. It is the furthest gate from the main terminal, and I am flying on the last plane out.

By now, it is just the passengers and the airline's own staff. The passengers are having the final passport and boarding pass check before getting onboard: a formality after a great deal of security and bag searching.

Everyone is a little tired; the rest of the airport looks dark and closed down for the night.


"Excuse me, sir. We would like to do a search?"

"Pardon?"

"We would like you to give us your handbag and step this way."

"OK. It is a manbag, or hand luggage. But not really a handbag."

"Yes, sir. This way."


My hand luggage is taken off to be searched again. I am now the last passenger at the gate. The flight is due to leave in about ten minutes.

"Sir, could you go behind the screen."

There is a screen in the corner of a kiosk, in the opposite corner to where my bag is now being searched and unpacked. The young security official follows me.


"Sir, can you take your jacket off."

"OK." I take off my jacket.

"And your shoes." I take off my shoes.

My shoes are looked at very carefully. I think of the shoe bomber, who also lived near Bromley. I begin to wonder if they are profiling people from urban north Kent.

"Sir, your trousers."

"Pardon?"

"Sir, please take your trousers off."

A pause.


"No."

"No?" The security official clearly was not expecting that response. He begins to look like he doesn't know what to do, bless him.

"You have no power to require me to do that. You also haven't also given any good reason. I am sure any genuine security concerns you have can be addressed in other ways. You do not need to invade my privacy in this manner."


A pause.

"I think you probably need to get your manager, don't you?". I try and be helpful.

He nods, hesitantly, and goes to get his manager, a middle-aged chap in a brown baggy suit.


"Hello sir."

"Hello." I smile.

"You won't take your trousers off?"

"No. It will be embarrassing and humiliating. You can't require me to do so, and you have no good reason to ask."


A pause. I smile again and nod encouragingly.

"Oh."

Another pause.


"Sir, there is actually no need for you to take your trousers off."

"Thank you. I thought not."


I put on my jacket and shoes.

"But sir, there is a problem with your handbag."

I pause.


This is the Edith Evans moment I have waited all my life for.


"My manbag?"


"Yes sir. It will have to travel separately."

"Why?

"We have concerns."

I think of those who have teased me about my manbag, but I guess their doubts about me are not the same concerns as this security manager.

"You think my manbag could be dangerous?"

"It will need to go separately."

He gives me a plastic bag with what had been the contents of my manbag.

"In the hold?"

"No, too late. It will have to travel business class."

"My manbag is going business class?"

"Yes, sir. You can be reunited at the destination."

Later I think I should have offered to swap, but I was too stunned to be so opportunistic.


"This way for the plane."

I walk with the manager, me with my new carrier bag, him with my empty mangbag. We go down the slope to the aircraft.

"I bet this makes you feel safer?"

"Actually, it doesn't. Either security required me to take my trousers off, or it does not. Either my bag is too unsafe to travel, or it is not. I think this just shows bad decision-making. Bad decision-making by security does not make me feel safe."

A pause. I am hoping he is thinking about my sensible, heart-felt words.


We get to the aircraft. The chief steward takes my manbag for its trip by business class. I go into economy class: I am stared at as the one who may have delayed the plane.

I find my seat. The chap next to me asks what happened.

"Oh, just security stuff."

"No worries. It makes you feel safer, doesn't it."



http://jackofkent.********.com/2011/...-security.html
hotmetal is offline  
Old 15th Feb 2011, 20:30
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Next time they'll probably chain you up in a white tiled room and bring out the endoscope - just incase your colon is giving them concern...
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 22:03
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This doesn't ring true. April 1st???
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 22:13
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Actually this is patently made up. Security in the UK don't pitch up at the gate and try and take your trousers off.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 22:44
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Not yet they don't. But I bet the scumbag lowlives would like to. Personally, I think we should arm these cretins, if just to make the point. I recon these mush for brains would shoot people every week for "security reasons." Then we'll see the quality of their thinking. The pile of bodies will be so high that they'll pale Al-Queda into insignificance. But that will be all right, it will be for our own good...

PM
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 23:48
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Piltdown - if you had a good education and had a choice of working in an office for good money with a fair chance of career growth..... or working for little more than the minimum wage with little or no chance of career growth, what would you choose ?

Security bods are nothing more than people who need to earn a living.
If we want as society to pay security naff all.... then can't expect them to give a particularly good service to punters in return
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 02:28
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Hmmmm. I once offered to remove my trousers, but it was declined. At Gatwick once, a particularly ''keen'' security chap asked me to remove my belt. Now I was wearing a pair of outdoor trousers, the type with the zip off legs which I think are cool, but the kids take the p!ss when I wear them. They have a webbing belt which is sewn in and has one of the pastic clip type buckles. Therefore taking off the belt was an impossibility.

The security chap didn't believe I couldn't remove the belt and I couldn't believe he had never seen this type of trouser before as it is a fairly common brand. I started to undo the trousers and he shouted '"What are you doing?''. I explained there was only one way my belt was going through the x-ray machine, and that I was trying to help. He decided he didn't want to see my underwear, so we arranged a compromise where the plastic buckle ends were removed and they went through the x-ray machine.



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Old 16th Feb 2011, 07:26
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UK security do pick people out when boarding. He was more embarassed than me when he asked me to undo my belt, and there in front of everyone, I stood with my trousers round my ankles! Talk about grovel......
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 09:02
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Actually this is patently made up. Security in the UK don't pitch up at the gate and try and take your trousers off.
Maybe. Its in the blog of David Allen Green who is legal correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 09:27
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He was more embarassed than me when he asked me to undo my belt, and there in front of everyone, I stood with my trousers round my ankles!
Supposing you had been going commando ...
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 10:35
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I am fairly certain that there are no extra security screeners after main security at any LHR terminal. Also, if there is something in a bag that concerns the security staff they would either remove the offending object or ask the passenger to check it in to the hold (for liquids etc, which, of course, would be picked up at main security).

As for putting the bag in Biz while he travels in economy, the airline wouldn't allow it.

I agree with PAXboy; this appears to be made up.

Ll
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 10:56
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Don't US flights have any secondary screening sometimes? How about El Al?
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:07
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It happened to me at T5 when boarding a flight to Chicago - last May. The security guy was a Sikh. More obscene than going commando when my trousers fell down is the sight of the varicose veins in my legs and the very large disgusting scar on my right leg!
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:10
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The last time we flew LGW-TPA there was 2ndry screening. Does this still apply to UK-US flights?
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:50
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Hi radeng, you are saying that a Sikh man asked you to take your trousers down at the boarding gate? I know that G4S have something of an airline security check on some flights, but this tale sounds embellished.

What was the reason given please?

Also the OP omits to mention what the stated issue with his bag was that they insisted he collect it at destination. Funny tale but it's spun out as a comedy narrative to make a point.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 13:00
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There certainly was T3 gateroom screening by security staff when I flew to LAX on 31/12/10.

HTC
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 13:14
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He didn't ask me to remove my trousers: an unintended consequence of asking me to undo my belt was that they dropped down round my ankles. This is why he was very embarassed, especially as it was in full sight of the other PAX boarding.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 13:17
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So G4S are doing physical hands on searches at the gates now? Or do they just have a belt fetish?

Why do they have secondary screening at all I wonder. This surely implies that primary screening just isn't up to the job surely. Security theatre is awful, it's too important to be this ridiculous.

El Al do secondary screening but I believe the calibre of the staff and their effectiveness is somewhat higher.

Last edited by Skipness One Echo; 19th Feb 2011 at 14:14.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 11:08
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effetiveness is somewhat higher
Then I definitely won't be taking off my trousers!!

Cheers
UFO
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 12:12
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working for little more than the minimum wage with little or no chance of career growth,
I would think that in a fast growing area like "security" there would be plenty of opportunity for growth.

Security officer>Security manager>Senior security manager>Security director>

I am fairly certain that there are no extra security screeners after main security at any LHR terminal.
There is additional screening on some flights to the US.
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