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Aviation: Security

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport if he will make it his policy to seek (a) additional powers for airport security personnel and (b) the creation of new and more specific offences in order to protect airline crews and passengers from bad behaviour by other passengers; and if he will make a statement. (292509)

The information is as follows:

(a) All passengers entering the restricted zone of an airport are subject to screening and searching procedures; these procedures are conducted with the consent of the traveller. Failure by the passenger to undertake this requirement will result in refusal of entry into the restricted zone and aircraft. Security personnel are not state employees and do not have the same powers as control authorities (police and UK Border Agency); they operate by consent only. Where airport security personnel require support from enforcement powers they can request assistance from control authorities.

(b) There is already a range of specific offences related to disruptive passenger behaviour on board aircraft. We consider that existing policy and legislative penalties are sufficient to deal with such behaviour.