|Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the run up to the last General Election, has his make up refreshed before stepping off an aircraft, to face a barrage of TV cameras...|
Clearly the airport experience is being changed for all of us, and the suggestion is that we should also change our view, preparation for travel and actions at the airport. Simply the changes are here to stay as the whole world order and international political landscape has sadly entered into a new phase.
We now face a continuing and evolving threat from financially very well resourced established terrorist groups. Not only do they have access to sophisticated weaponry, but they also have some of the best brains dreaming up way of defeating our own evolving detection levels. Both sides in effect playing a dangerous game of 'catch up.'
The very nature of the subject, means that we the travelling public, will never really know what has been put in place to protect us. A caller to Lousie White on BBC Scotland, suggested that more use should be made of sniffer dogs. In fact dogs are widely used, each dog trained to sniff out a different threat or prohibited item. Many work 'airside' and inside the staff only areas of the baggage halls.
Sniffer dog specialities can range from paper money, explosives, drugs - both in pockets and luggage and even concealed inside body cavities... Some specialist dogs are even being used in the politically explosive area of profiling or as the Americans sanitize it and term it 'demeanour evaluation' clearly stressed or worried people give off a range of ozones or trace smells.
Simon Calder, the worlds most travelled and revered travel journalist, was also on the same show and hoped the measures would in time be pulled back, as threat levels decrease. Personally I cannot see this happening. The UK is already at DEFCON 3 or rated SUBSTANTIAL. The threat levels are: Low; Moderate; Substantial; Severe and Critical. A sobering thought that officialdom only has two upper levels available to them. Perhaps after critical its Oblivion? But there again at that extreme threat level none of us would ever know, as it would have already happened!
JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)