This is the kind of posting that will likely make me no friends in government security, but I’m tired of all of that.
I’ve been reading far too often lately about the liberties being taken away from us in the UK for the sake of our protection from terrorism. As a regular traveler I have never minded airport security until recently. I flew out of New York a few months after “9/11” and felt quite satisfied that security was sufficient. However, since then the authorities have stacked on more and more restrictions on travel based on badly founded risk assessments. Examples of these are:
1) That all persons carrying liquids could be a threat to safety
2) Our shoes are a potential hiding place for objects/substances that could threaten safety
So, lets take a look at those threats:
1) There was a reported threat that it might be possible to make a binary explosive by mixing two or more chemicals in the bathroom of an airliner. This is the stuff of Hollywood legend and has very little practical application.
2) Richard Reed, a disturbed English/Jamaican man from Bromley who found religion after being in prison. He failed to ignite a small quantity of explosives hidden in his shoes. So that is one failed attempt to blow up a plane with a badly conceived and executed plan.
So overall, I now have to have my liquids scanned (what use is it to put the bottles through an x-ray machine?) and I have to take off my shoes to prove I am not hiding any explosives in them. Apparently for some people it makes them feel more secure to know that action is being taken, but do they really realise how ineffective this action really is? How much of a waste of resources it really is? If I wanted a knife on-board an aircraft I could make one out of readily available materials (drinks cans), or I could just fly first class and order the steak!
Apparently it has now become a crime to take photographs in a public place and even where it isn’t a crime it is now decided that if you are taking photographs of public places that you must be a terrorist planning something. When did it happen that actions that many could consider common actions became so suspect. Not all of us just take photographs when we are tourists, some of us like to take pictures when we are out and about of interesting but everyday subjects. It also is becoming a crime to refuse to give your identity when asked by a Police Officer and this I also disagree with.
I am not an opponent of the Police, I think many of them do a sterling job but I felt I had to write an email to the Kent Police Authority just as an appeal to their better nature and it is in the Read More section below and as always I welcome comment.