May 08, 2008

Airport security

The BBC's Newsnight current affairs program revealed last night that thousands of foreign nationals working airside in Britain's airports have not been subject to proper criminal record checks.

Today's Telegraph carried the story in its front page:-
Despite warnings that terrorists would try to recruit people working "airside" in terminals – with direct access to aircraft and baggage – no attempt has been made to check whether foreign workers have committed any offences abroad.

The vetting process checks only for crimes committed in Britain. Foreign workers – arriving from inside or outside the European Union – are not checked in their country of origin.

This means that someone with a conviction for firearms or explosives offences committed abroad could, for example, take a job loading bags on to aircraft at Heathrow, Gatwick or any other airport, provided they had committed no crimes here.

The Government said that it did not want to carry out foreign criminal record checks because it would take too long and involve complicated comparisons between legal systems in different countries.
The level of complacency involved is astounding.