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Darling says "let there be marshals"

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Darling says "let there be marshals"

Old 22nd Dec 2002, 10:43
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Well said Roadtrip

In the hysteria of this thread, the fact that these are highly trained police who are used to carrying arms seems to have been overlooked. Similarly they will only be deployed on specific flights. The Captain will be advised in advance iaw NASP.

We already carry armed police almost daily on UK aircraft when they are accompanying those people who are entitled to armed protection. They come and go with no fuss and the Captain is informed where they will be sitting. There have been no untoward occurences involving these APO's in the past 10 years on UK aircraft.

As stated earlier, they have their own constabulary powers which are outside the ANO. The Captain is only responsible for the safety of the aircraft and the passengers.

Merry Christmas all

Anne
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 12:00
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Primacy lies with the captain

full stop. bottom line.

Problems also arise with jurisdiction. This is the case on seaborne vessels as well. However the dictat of reasonable force will always apply.

Personal protection officers are there for an entirely different set of circumstances than what we are talking about here. They are also trained for an entirely different set of circumstances.

The reason you havbe had no problems with carriage of PPO's is that the whole idea is that they are discrete. Even if something kicked off in general terms, it is extremely unlikely the officer would intervene, save for a direct threat to their charge. For example, the Celtic supporter problem - wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow.

Bottom line with all of this is, if we are going to do it properly, it is going to cost billions. The governments of this world on the whole are unwilling to invest, and forthe airlines to do it would push the cost of air travel to prohibitive levels.

There will be another atrocity. That is the way of the world
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 12:11
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Unhappy

The fact that no-one has accidentally disacharged a firearm on a UK aircraft to date is almost certainly due to the small number of people who have actually been involved. Close Protection personnel unload there firearms before boarding (in the VERY rare circumstances that they actually carry them abroad). This would not be the case with sky marshals. As someone who spent 20 years of his life carrying firearms on a daily basis, and training others to use them, I know that the reality is that the longer the time since you let a round off accidentally, the nearer it is to the next one! I know of a number of highly trained police firearms officers in the UK who have accidentally shot themselves, inanimate objects and each other due to brain-fade. (At least 2 of these incidents were at an airport.) Most ex-military specialists now working as professional bodyguards will also admit privately to having at least one 'ND' in their careers too. Sky Marshals in the US have an excellent record though, but have had the advantage of developing in an environment where handgun training has been carried out from an early stage in their careers. The policemen that Darling is proposing to do this job haven't!

There is no magic cure for the problems of terrorists on aircraft. By far the best option is to stop them getting aboard in the first place, but this is never going to be the waterproof option. Having actually trained in mock-up aircraft I know how difficult it is to avoid a 'shoot-through' and there would probably be 'good-guy' casualties (although not as many as in a suicide attack designed to bring an aircraft down). The problem about frangible ammunition, such as the Glaser Safety Slug, is that it has weaknesses and is not the 'magic bullet' that the media suggests. I suspect that if a serious risk assessment was acrried out, it would result in the discovery that there would be more civilian casualties from accidents from armed marshals than from preventable on-board terrorist activities. In reality I think this announcement is nothing more then 'spin' to take the heat off the government at a difficult time.
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 12:13
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Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but PPO's {Special Branch} already carry guns on board UK registered aircraft in certain circumstances and I haven't heard any complaints before.
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 12:26
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I cannot see a 6'4" copper being on our flights, he wouldn't be able to get out of the seat in a hurry and would be suffering from DVT in a week; although I have heard that they only travel in First Class.
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 13:43
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Stallturn, I really can't believe this:
<This is the most idiotic suggestion I've ever heard. Previously, I felt it was the restriction on jumpseats, but this takes first prize! I dont want to share an aircraft with a gunman, whoever pays his salary! There is NO ROOM for guns on passenger carrying aircraft>

Some of the comments in this thread seem to be detached from reality and recent history. The point about Air Marshalls is nobody will know if there are none, one, or two on board. Anything you put in place to thwart such a hijacking will help you. The uncertainty will help. I would rather have shooting in the cabin than my planeload of 400 passengers commanded with not much resistance when the flight deck gets invaded whilst coffee is being delivered! Then we will be 400 dead people (plus more on the target)!

El Al have a long history of Air Marshalls satisfactorily concluding hijack attempts when their profiling has otherwise failed to prevent the individuals boarding. Once they are on, getting through a locked door is not difficult. On one day, 4 out of 4 attempts succeeded with loss of all onboard (and some 2500 not on board). Wake up, the world has changed! How many flights with Air Marshalls on board that have been interfered with have ended up worse as a result of the Air Marshalls being aboard? Zero. How many flights interfered with with Air Marshalls aboard have ended up better as a result of their presence- all of them as far as I am aware. Profiling cannot stop dedicated long term terrorists. Weapons can be fabricated. Getting through flight deck door security is not difficult. Once through that door you have an aeroplane of dead people- the pilots have certainly been denuded of everything with which to defend themselves (even nail clippers) as a last resort. What possible justification can there be for not having Air Marshalls. Don't think of what you think the problems may be . Thing instead of the record of success of Air Marshalls.

Let's face it, a small terrorist group had incredible success on a one shot operation. That they haven't succeeded again is because they haven't tried again. I reckon I could succeed against any airline except El Al because of their security. We need to understand why and appreciate the lesson. Trouble is, there are far too many 'shoot from the hip' uninformed opinions in Pprune about any subject under the sun, and frankly looking at some of the profiles of the people volubly expressing opinions in this thread, they know nowt about zilch and would be better off letting the experts handle a very difficult security situation in the way they know better!

Last edited by Notso Fantastic; 22nd Dec 2002 at 13:57.
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 18:00
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Standto

Having seen your profile I thought you would know that the ANO is quite specific on this subject.

You go on to say:
The reason you havbe had no problems with carriage of PPO's is that the whole idea is that they are discrete.

......and the armed police officers will also be discrete; that is the whole idea!

Cat S
Although I agree with much that you say, you are mistaken in your knowledge of the APO's operating methods which are clearly defined in the DfT NASP

Anne
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Old 22nd Dec 2002, 22:43
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Anne, Please remember you are dealing with a thick copper here and not a graduate level jet jockey. The ANO is in the public domain, some of the stuff I am dealing with isnt and subject to PII, although

http://www.acpo.police.uk/policies/Chapter3.pdf

is.

There is however a whole other big fat book which deals with PPO work. For some strange reason they haven't posted this on the web.

Give me a clue as to which specific article of the ANO you are talking about. PM if necessary. SOooometimes I need leading to the water.

like Ah say. just a cop, doin mah job
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Old 23rd Dec 2002, 08:57
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Well in the last few weeks, 'thick coppers' with guns have satisfactoritly concluded:
1. An El Al 'incident' into Turkey
2. A Royal Jordanian 'incident' into AUH

I think it quite reasonable to conclude that both these incidents would have been far more serious and inconvenient without the Sky Marshalls presence. There seems to be a horror from some on Pprune of "I don't want guns blazing on my aeroplane!". Let's think about this- these Sky Marshalls are well trained not to discharge their weapons without good cause. It would be because hijackers either have guns or other serious weaponry already . If so, you are already likely to be walking dead soon unless the Sky Marshall stops them, so as far as I am concerned, "Welcome Aboard, S. M! And don't refrain from drilling as many holes in skyjackers as you like because I know what the alternative is!"
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Old 23rd Dec 2002, 14:33
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I'll take that as a vote of confidence/thanks then!

I went away and re read my side of the wall stuff, and the ANO references, and still fail to see what a PPO carrying a gun on an A/C ( basically cos he/she will need it at the other end) and skymarshalls have to do with each other.

Totally different ball game
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Old 23rd Dec 2002, 21:20
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Standto

PM sent. The reference is the ANO 2000 Part 5 Article 67which I believe is still extant

It reads:

Every person in an aircraft shall obey all lawful commands which the commander of that aircraft may give for the purpose of securing the safety of the aircraft and of persons or property carried therein, or the safety , efficiency or regularity of air navigation.


Anne
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Old 23rd Dec 2002, 23:34
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Sky Marshals

Why have Pilots been Security Searched before having access to their aircraft . How many times have you ( or a colleague) thought What a waste of time ; I'm hardly likely to hijack my own aircraft .

In 1974 , G-ASGO , a BOAC operated VC10 , was hijacked in ??Dubai ; it ended up in Amsterdam where it was set on fire and substancially destroyed . My recollection is that the necessary weapons were brought aboard in Dubai by the Cleaners who had hidden the guns in their Hoovers ; and that they did this not because they were part of the original Team , but because they had been Got At by threats to their families . They simply did what they had been told to do to protect their wives and children . It was only because they were not searched - and were known not to be searched - before having access to the aircraft this strategy was possible .

Whether this is precicely true or not ( does anyone remember) is not important ; but it does illustrate the potential vulnerability of all Flight Crew to such coercion : what would You do if , say , your children had been kidnapped and the only way ( you were told) to see them again was to get a weapon on board your next flight . That would certainly be a tough one to call , but the defence to the possibility is simply to have all Crew properly searched , which is why it is done . No-one actually thinks that you are going to hijack your own aircraft , but it is recognised that might be forced into helping someone else do so . So the more public and more thorough the Searching , the better , as it shows the world that such an approach is unlikely to succeed ( and this seems to have worked)

I suspect that , then , that the carriage of Sky Marshals , who will have spouses / partners / children / parents , any or all of whom they will feel a strong need to protect , and whose exact movements will not be too hard to establish , and who will be carrying weapons onto aircraft as part of their their job actually introduces more vulnerabilty than protection .

I wonder how EL AL et al manage this problem , and how it is thought that it will be overcome on UK aircraft .
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Old 23rd Dec 2002, 23:55
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You're dreaming up problems with Sky Marshalls and ignoring their long history (unblemished I think) of success in preventing situations developing onboard!
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Old 24th Dec 2002, 23:20
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Sky Marshalls = safety

All;

Since September 11th, Sky Marshalls are prevalent on most flights within the U.S. The only difference is the travelling public doesn't know it. They usually travel in groups of two or more and the only think they want for the most point is some decent food.

While they prefer to sit in first class, depending on occupancy, they might wel be in coach and that's the beauty of the whole program. If the terrorists don't know where they are, the Marshalls are already one step ahead of the game.

I'll say nothing further apart from Merry Xmas to all.

Andy
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Old 27th Dec 2002, 14:39
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Sky Marshalls = Safety (So far)

Well yes , you can say that Sky Marshalls have worked , and have not been used/abused by being Got At . I would add "So Far" .

Having a small community of elite/select individuals makes things more manageable , but once you have large numbers of them , all needing Rostering , Training , Checking , Administering etc it will become impossible to keep 'confidential' who they are and which flights they are assigned to.

And if the whole scenario does seem too far fetched ( which I agree it might) : first , you are not trying to stay a step ahead of fools and idiots, but , as we have seen , intelligent and resourceful people with ambition and vision (well , enough of them to matter) . Secondly ; we spend many happy hours in the Sim thinking about Emergrency Electrical Configuration , Double Hydraulic Failures and so on . Even though the chances of these actually happening are 10 to the minus quite a lot we don't call that Dreaming up Problems with the Aeroplane , we learn how to deal with it .

You cannot argue that if something unlikely hasn't happened yet , it won't . Risk assessment requires more analysis than that .

In passing , allowing Pilots to carry guns onto their Flight Decks re-introduces the risk of being Got At on their Days Off not only to they themselves but to all other pilots that are identified with them , that is , all the Pilots who no longer must go through an effective Security Screening .

Are we happy with that ??
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Old 27th Dec 2002, 21:03
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JohnFitch

John;

I'm very surprised at his statement:

"you are not trying to stay a step ahead of fools and idiots, but , as we have seen , intelligent and resourceful people with ambition and vision (well , enough of them to matter)"


Are you trying to say if Sky Marshalls had been on any of those awful September fights, the results and outcome would not be different?

Let me tell you, if Sky Marshalls were on board each and every one of those flights, there would be no September 11th...Unfortunately, they weren't.

Andy
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 20:16
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I flew with them in the '70's, and was pleased to have them aboard.

These were hand selected men, many from a surplus in the Secret Service.
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