More flexible airport security in UK

Proposals for a more “passenger-friendly” approach to security at UK airports have been outlined by the Government.

Under the plans, airports will be able to have greater flexibility in the way they screen passengers.

Announcing a consultation on aviation security, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he wanted to move away “from the current highly-prescriptive one-size-fits-all approach” at airports.

One outcome of the new security regime could mean that such measures as making passengers remove shoes will be done far more selectively.
Hammond said he wanted the new regime to be one which “maintains and improves security standards but in a more efficient and passenger-friendly way.
“the safety and security of passengers remained “of paramount importance to the Government” and he was proposing to require all airport industry operators to develop a security management system.

This would demonstrate a clear commitment to providing an overall high level of security and set out how security outcomes specified by the UK and EU would be delivered.

Hammond said he was also proposing new arrangements where airports would have to regularly report to the UK authorities on their performance.
He added that he planned to introduce a system that allowed “staff to report on a confidential basis any concerns relating to aviation security”.

Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots’ union Balpa, said he hoped the new regime would help pilots.“Pilots are part of the solution to airline security, not part of the problem. It is frankly bizarre that the professionals responsible for safely flying hundreds of passengers every day are currently treated with the same degree of suspicion as high-risk passengers.

“Pilots are routinely held up at security and, like passengers, have their water and other items confiscated. Given the responsibility they are entrusted with, that is clearly ridiculous.”