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Darling says "let there be marshals"

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Darling says "let there be marshals"

Old 19th Dec 2002, 11:32
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Post Darling says "let there be marshals"

From the BBC(19/12):

"Armed undercover police are to be used on UK passenger flights, Transport Secretary Alastair Darling has announced.
The news came the day after a senior Whitehall source said there was a "high probability" that international terrorists would sooner or later launch an attack on the UK.

Mr Darling said the introduction of air marshalls followed a government decision earlier this year to reinforce in-flight security as part of the continuing review of aviation security following the 11 September attacks.

He stressed that although the threat to UK aviation remained "a real one", the new measure - following the example of Israel and Australia - had not been developed "in response to any new or specific intelligence".

A warning of a continuing threat from al-Qaeda - possibly targeting planes - was issued at a briefing for reporters on Wednesday.

In a statement, Mr Darling said: "That threat remains a real one, but this new capability has not been developed and is not being announced now in response to any new or specific intelligence.

"This further security measure joins others the Government has taken to increase security both on the ground at airports and in flight since the attacks in the USA."

Mr Darling said the government was "moving faster than the international community at large" to ensure UK aircraft were fitted with reinforced flight deck doors.

"Last month we acted to ensure that flight deck doors on foreign aircraft are kept locked, as they have been on UK aircraft since very soon after the US attacks.

"We have also placed strict limits on those able to be on the flight deck of UK aircraft."

Mr Darling's officials refused to say whether the government would insist airlines accept the air marshals or whether all flights would be covered. "We are not discussing the criteria at all," one told Reuters.

Officials believe the most likely form of an international terrorism attack is against the transport system such as planes or some form of unsophisticated chemical warfare, or using high-explosives in a conventional bomb.

Prime Minister Tony Blair also said on Wednesday that the threat posed by al-Qaeda terror group was "real and serious".

A government source confirmed that "small numbers" of al-Qaeda terrorists were operating in the UK.

An attack was "not inevitable" but such groups were extremely determined.

The government source said their understanding of the nature and character of al-Qaeda had improved.

The source said: "Al-Qaeda itself may in the next few years transform itself into something else, but the ideas behind it won't go away.

"My prediction is that we are in for a long haul.

"We cannot be optimistic that the short-term war on terror is going to remove them in the next couple of years.

"The sensible precaution for the nation is a sustained campaign to improve our national resilience."

Since 11 September, the government has stepped up searches on staff, passengers and their hand and hold baggage, vehicles, cargo and catering, with a particular emphasis on flights going to key destinations such as the USA.

The range of articles not allowed aboard aircraft has been added to and more funding has been channelled into airport policing."
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 12:06
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Considering the record of gung-ho, hyped up, armed police elsewhere, this is something everyone should be scared of. They certainly should not be allowed anywhere near an aircraft!
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 12:14
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Unhappy Oh dear...

And what happens if the Skymarshalls are overpowered? What happens when the terrorist threatens to kill a passenger unless he gets access to the cockpit? Quite a dilemma, one would imagine, for the crew in that regard...
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 12:38
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okay..you lose one passenger to save potentially thousands..harsh choice but reality today..
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 12:44
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What do the insurers say about providing adequate cover?
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 12:48
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"We have also placed strict limits on those able to be on the flight deck of UK aircraft."
I read this on the BBC too. Could any informed people (ideally British airline pilots) shed any light on who exactly IS allowed on the FD other than the pilots?

GWYN - I don't at all agree with your post but you're entitled to speak your mind.

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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:12
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I look forward to the first compensation claim by a passenger who's been accidentally shot by a sky marshall
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:15
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...assuming they live to tell the story
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:22
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I can see both sides of the argument....

Speaking from a point of virtually no knowledge of what actually does happen on a plane..

It does seem to me that this is the good old "More guns will make it better" school of thought. Adding additional guns to a situation isn't going to make it better in most cases. What we really, really, really need is tighter airport security. But adding armed guards to the aeroplanes does make for some exciting "getting tough of terrorism" headlines....... Simply annoying passengers with more thorough ID and clothing checks isn't going to curry many votes, is it? Or am I being excessively cynical?

I don't know how effective these guys would actually be. The terrorists will doubtless start to arrive mob-handed and then we'll need more marshals to protect a plane. It more-or-less assumes that the air-marshal isn't going to get himself killed (which is what is likely to happen if there is a 6-on-1 shootout!) and is going to realise and confirm what's happening before it's too late. Once the terrorist has burst onto the flightdeck, there is probably precious little anyone can do. It's not a movie, there is no script and virtually no rules. The terrorists are not that stupid, and will anticipate you being there. It's not going to be a turkey-shoot and it will never be obvious who the enemy actually is. Ununiformed people is an idea, but not foolproof. Terrorists will spot them easily be seeing who *doesn't* go through security? There would be powerfull arguments for sticking them in uniforms.

I suppose we have to do something, but if we do we want policemen, not soldiers, on those planes.
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:30
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What does it mean by UK passenger flights? Does it mean those operated by UK based airlines or flights to/from the UK? Who will compensate the airlines for the lost seat revenue? What would be the total cost for the year. Given that the airlines are not convinced perhaps the Government should think again. I for one would be concerned about any weapons being onboard an aircraft.
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:43
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That goes for me too brabzon….

Imho, this is just typical of the BS that this present British government puts out - very much "Let's look like we're doing something about it", but where their true focus is more concerned with getting re-elected than with actually doing things that have a real & positive effect….. ( so GordonBurford – above - you’re not being cynical )

Don't believe me ?

Well, in spite of all 'New Labours' pledges and promises to turn them around:

Crime's up – but there are less police being recruited
Taxes are up, albeit via indirect / stealth charges.
Transport policy is in turmoil.
Rail-fares are going up, but the service is being reduced.
House-prices are overheating the economy - but the government dare not do anything about it for fear of loosing votes.
Hospitals are still in crisis, with nurses leaving in droves, patients still on trolleys in corridors, and waiting lists as long as your arm.
Schools are still crisis, with teaches leaving in droves and there’s mayhem about exam standards.
Where PM's more often than not off trying to save the world and / or toady up to Bush, whilst back at home the UK's going to the dogs !

Etc etc etc; but where, according to government figures ( read: lies, damned lies, and statistics ! ), everything in the garden’s rosy !

Indeed can somebody please name me anything that's improved with them in power ?

...... and just to think that our hard-earnt taxes pay the wages of these government and civil service p****s….... shakes head in disbelief.

I somewhat digress ( but where the point is that this is all just ‘spin’ ! )

W.r.t. having a sky marshal onboard, ( and this point has already been made ) what if there are 10 terrorists ( freedom fighters ? ) on board – is one sky marshal gonna be able to stop them all ? I hope there’s plenty in the clip !

Now if I were Al-Qaeda terrorist Johnny ( which I’m not ), I’d just get hold of some SAM7 missiles ( I’ll bet that there are loads available on the black market ), park my self either on the take-off or landing path of a major international airport ( e.g LHR ) and launch one off at the first ElAl, BA, UA 777 or 747 that presented itself in my sights – there’d be little or no risk to me ( whereupon I’d live to fight my jihad another day ),…… so why bother trying to get onboard an airliner when it seems so much easier just to blow it out of the sky from a distance, e.g. as per what happened in Mombassa !

But what do I know, I’m just an airline pilot.
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:46
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I'm watiting for the first Air Marshall to sue because they got DVT
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 13:49
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Red face

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 (and no quips about standing room and spam cans please!) if this goes ahead, I could not continue as a citizen of this country, I think I'll depart for saner climes, leaveing by rail,ship or possibly symbolically flying myself out. Apart from the obvious danger to other pax etc. etc. who picks up the consequences of firing at an idiot with a toy gun at 30,000ft ? Who pays for the seat? It's bound to cost increased taxes/fares etc. to whose benefit? It will either encourage the opposition to get more modern, hideable weapons, spot the cop, and shoot him first, together with its consequnces, OR the opposition is already rolling on the floor laughing, and singing, 'We won!, We Won!' . And you know what? He'll be right, he will have won. He will have succedded in making our life so miserable and full of ani terror rules, he can retire early in the safe knowledge that the legacy of his work will continue beyond his miserable lifetime .
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 14:14
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I won't go on at length about this, but I really hope that it will be very clear which airlines allow guns on board and which do not. I for one will always choose the aircraft with no guns allowed whenever possible. From what I read this means non-UK, non-US, non-Aus airlines, so it looks like the Asian ones win here.
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 14:25
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Absolutely ridiculous

Re-iterating stallturn’s point – THERE IS NO ROOM FOR GUNS ON PASSENGER AIRCRAFT! This, if implemented, will create more problems than solutions. I would rather plough all the money needed for this project into additional security on the ground to ensure that guns never reach the immediate vicinity of an aircraft.

Still… If this does go ahead at least we’ll all be able to play ‘spot the sky marshall’ on flights from now on!
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 14:42
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There are already officers of the British police trained as sky-marshalls (probably 2).

I find this very sad indeed for the points that have already been raised. Whats to stop the sky-marshall from hi-jacking the aircraft himself?

How many sky-marshalls will be needed on the A380?

Is only one skymarsh going to be on each flight they cover? I hardly see then being effective to take on 5-hi-jackers especially if they are suicde bombers!

Lots of the USA skymarshalls have already quit from boredom. Who on earth would want a the job of sitting on a a/c- just incase? Sounds like some thing the best people will apply for!

Sounds like another Labour lets be like the USA policy!
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 14:57
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air marshalls

Geoff Want BA Director of Safety and Security has just issued this...

You may recall two week's ago some media coverage about the UK government's intention to deploy armed police officers onboard British aircraft.

Today, the government has made a formal announcement that it now has the capability, should it be warranted, to deploy specially trained armed police officers aboard UK civil aircraft.

We continue to have concerns about the presence and use of firearms on board our aircraft. We are working closely with the government to make sure its plans do not jeopardise onboard safety and to ensure that the correct procedures are in place should deployment be necessary.

Robust and excellent ground security is at the heart of achieving security in the air and we will continue to work extremely closely with airport authorities in implementing a range of security measures on the ground.

We recognise that the government feels it is necessary to have contingency plans to deploy armed officers onboard and we will continue to work closely with the authorities on all aspects of in-flight and ground security.


er....... so thats it then ! Roll over job
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 15:22
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Thumbs down

Oh my god, they have gone mad completely now!

Why am I not allowed to take my dad for a flight on the jumpseat because of the secutity risk involved but at the same time I should trust a total stranger carrying a gun ??? How much sence does that make.

Do they really believe aviation is gonna be safer when, rather then increasing airport security and preventing guns to get on board, they are gonna put their own guns on board?
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 15:35
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How will this guy get through security?

Will he/she have to take his shoes off for checking?

Can he/she carry a gun but no nail files?

In an airborne 'situation' - will he be able to over-ride the Captain when deciding on a course of action? Perhaps it will be shoot first - ask later.

I can't get through with nail scissors and I'm the Captain!

Does Mr Darling have the faintest idea what he is talking about?

(I know the answer to the last question!)

Roll on retirement!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 19th Dec 2002, 15:45
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I can't get through with nail scissors and I'm the Captain!
Yes, but that's done to prevent you over-powering the 44-magnum armed sky marshal and fighting..your....way.......onto.........the.........flight. .............deck?


Maybe they just don't want you deciding to give yourself a foot manicure at 35,000ft?
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