Although the world’s major airports are stepping up security for passengers and employees, a top airport official, speaking at Los Angeles International Airport still thinks that it may not be enough to stop the ‘lone wolf’ slipping through the net.
Mr Patrick Gannon, police chief of LAX, said that 54,000 employees undergo recurring security screening, including criminal background checks, but believes that this may not be enough. He said, “I agree that in any airport throughout the United States and here also, there is never a 100% guarantee that somebody who wanted to do something illegal or wrong couldn’t make that happen.”
Just two of the U.S. airports, Orlando and Miami, require all personnel that have access to secure areas of the airport to pass through metal detectors, with other major airports conducting random checks. Often airport personnel undergo the bare minimum before being hired, such as a criminal background check.
The debate has been raised since the arrest of the Delta baggage handler at the end of last year at Jackson International Airport for gun smuggling alongside a passenger.
Mr Gannon is concerned about the process of screening airport staff and the risk of a single member of staff being overlooked. Miami airport security director, Lauren Stover agrees that ID badges and swipe cards are not enough to guarantee the eradication of the likelihood of contraband or a person with malicious intent getting through security access doors.
The debate continues as airports around the world aim to stamp out the threat of terrorist attack. As employees could be targeted by organisations, regular and constant screening is the only answer and is held back by cost implications on a broad scale.