Target certain people using controversial passenger profiling, says former airport security chief Ian Hutcheson
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 08 July 2013
Controversial “passenger profiling” techniques which could see some travellers singled out for extra checks because of their race or age should be introduced in the UK, according to the former head of security at Britain’s leading airports.
Ian Hutcheson, who retired from the company that runs Heathrow at the end of last year, said that “some form of passenger differentiation” was necessary so that security resources could be focused on those passengers who actually posed a threat.
He suggested that low-risk travellers could join a “membership scheme” under which they would volunteer extra personal data in return for a faster journey through the airport.
“We need to move towards a more risk-based view of security where things like behavioural recognition and passenger profiling are contemplated, along with the acceptance that the large proportion of passengers pose a minimal risk,” Mr Hutcheson said in an interview with Intersec, the Journal for International Security.
Mr Hutcheson was Commander of the Heathrow Airport Division of the Metropolitan Police before he joined BAA in 1997. He led the response for the UK’s leading airports to both 9/11 and the “liquid bomb plot” in 2006.
His intervention in the aviation security debate gives support to proponents of studying a passenger’s profile and behaviour more closely than their possessions – the “bad people not bad objects” approach, as it is known. But there is concern that people of Asian, Middle Eastern and North African origin are already unfairly singled out for extra attention.
Mr Hutcheson conceded that the issue is “politically sensitive,” but he pointed to examples of profiling where individuals regarded as safe are subject to a lower-security regime.
“The US has started down that road by looking at certain parts of the population – such as young children, people over 65 and those in the military.”
But other security specialists regard any relaxation of current search standards as dangerous, and fear terrorists will exploit looser screening.
Smarter technology is seen as the best long-term prospect for easing the stress and cost of security, but the efforts of the European Commission to lift the liquids ban have so far proved futile. In the wake of the August 2006 plot to bring down jets using bombs assembled on board, all but small quantities of liquids were banned. A deadline of April this year for EU airports to lift the ban passed by, as equipment to detect liquids with explosive potential is not yet widely installed.
Mr Hutcheson expressed doubts about whether new scanners could solve the issue: “Technology has some way to go before it can actually screen a washbag filled with toiletries, for example, which is ultimately what the passenger wants.”
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are talking to the aviation industry about possible ways in which a risk-based screening scheme might work, and what benefits it might deliver in terms of customer experience, cost savings and security”. But the DfT played down the prospect of an early move to lighter security for some passengers. “The work is still in its early conceptual stages,” said the spokeswoman.
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion this leading designer and sup...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment is currently working ...