Australia Ups Security At Regional Airports
The aim is to provide local capability for regional airports to conduct basic passenger screening at short notice. The Australian Federal Police and the Office of Transport Security will work with airports on this measure due to the specialties of each agency.
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This new measure will include hand wand screening equipment for metal detection and training for staff at 146 regional airports on how to use it. Although the threat level to regional airports has been assessed as low, the Government has decided that all regular public transport airports across <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Australia should be in a position to establish and operate passenger screening quickly in the event of a change in alert levels.
The Government’s opinion is that regional airports may not have the resources and capability to deploy additional security measures, such as passenger screening, rapidly and in response to alert level increases or specific threats to a particular airport.
In keeping with the current assessed level of risk, airports will not be obliged to implement screening on a regular basis, although trained and qualified local screeners will be available to regional airports to set up mobile screening stations at their airport.
Screening will form part of the new regional airport security programmes currently under development. The Office of Transport Security will work with industry to ensure there is access to trained screeners.
Regional airport staff will be trained in basic security guard techniques, according to state-based criteria, followed by additional aviation security training. Staff will learn hand-wand screening techniques, security awareness training and enforcement and detainment procedures. Airport screeners will also need to undergo a background check.
Australian Federal Police Protective Services (AFPPS) staff will be on hand to conduct bomb appraisal and explosive detection canine services. If passenger screening and heightened security measures were required at short notice, the AFPPS and airport management would coordinate on-the-ground management of the screening process.
The Office of Transport Security will implement and manage the training of regional airport staff. The OTS is also responsible for ensuring that any elements added to an airport’s transport security programme meet appropriate criteria and are enforced through its audit and compliance programme.