G4S AVIATION SECURITY / Male operative searching female passenger's hand luggage
H/W self-explanatory e-mails of complaint and reply from Bournemouth airport security management.
Dear Mr Brogden,
Thankyou for replying at length to my complaint regarding the actions of your security staff...I would hesitate to call it "poor customer service" as that would be to indicate that I agree to being called a "customer". I am a British traveller, citizen, person or member of the public, but I am not your customer. If I were your customer I would have the choice of accepting or rejecting your service which I cannot...except by taking the option by not travelling by air.
I am not satisfied with your reply regarding the matter of the male operative searching the hand luggage of my wife...He examined a tube of vaginal cream and other feminine hygeine products, underpants and bra, stockings. Our possessions are personal, and when they are searched by a member of the opposite sex this can cause devastating embarrassment and annoyance. I had great difficuly in not remonstrating loudly against such an outrageous lack of management in not having a female operative available for the task, and I intend to take this matter to a higher authority. In no way do you directly address this incident in your reply.
It would appear that the public in Britain have very little say or choice in this matter of a) the neccessity for such rigid security checks, nor b) the fact that they are run by a profit-needing-motivated privatised company viz: G4S Aviation Security. (the "G4S" being unfathomably mysterious)...That you also tag "national airport security provider" to it's title does little to alleviate my feelings that it is still a private company making a lot of money without any substantial arguement as to the actual need for it. Precautionary measures are all well and good, but the zealous need to check every bottle, jar, tube or container that might contain whatever H.M. Government could consider dangerous would appear to this citizen as quibbling and time wasting, causing tactless behavior in operatives as our experience so well illustrates. If there are any indications that I am wrong in thinking this, I welcome being informed to the contrary.
As I cannot forsee that the rigours of passing through airport security in Britain will be made any less of an embarrassment in the foreseeable future, I must again reiterate our preference, from now on, for "jumping on the train" when visiting my country. It would also appear to be far less polluting I believe, and more relaxing.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 11:30 AM
Subject: Bournemouth Airport Feedback
Dear Mr John
Thank you for your email dated 21st June 2009, in regard to your recent travel experience through Bournemouth Airport. Your email has been passed to me as the security function falls within my remit. All feedback from our customers is welcomed and where possible actions are taken to improve the passenger experience through Bournemouth Airport.
I would firstly like to apologies on behalf of Bournemouth Airport for what you felt was poor customer service due to the actions of security staff. The security function at Bournemouth Airport is provided under contract by G4S Aviation Security, a national airport security provider. We are working closely with the contract provider to ensure that all security staff conduct themselves in a manner commensurate with the high quality of customer service that we aspire to.
In response to the points covered in your email we are directed by the Department For Transport regarding the baggage search compliance standards that are applied by security staff. The UK retains a high security threat level, therefore standards and methodology of security performance are monitored and tested on a regular basis both internally and externally, unfortunately the directions give very little latitude of flexibility to airports or security.
We are currently undergoing a significant redevelopment programme which has already included the up-grading to existing equipment. The Archway Metal Detectors are an advanced generation therefore the technology selects the passenger for body search rather than the security operative placed in front.
You have my assurance that I will be monitoring the security staff training and the subsequent maintenance of good customer skills to ensure they are practised with courtesy at all times to ensure we strive to meet the expectations of our passengers.
Once again I am sorry that your recent travel experience did not meet with your aspirations and I do hope you will consider using Bournemouth Airport for your travel needs in the future. Should you have any difficulties, you now have my contact details and our duty manager is always on hand to support and help.
Security, Safety & PRM Manager
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