Baggage Screening Effectiveness

airportsecurityAt one point or another most of us have had to suffer the grueling process of airport security; long queues while security scan our bags and make us unpack the contents before them.  Sometimes we are also selected so that our possessions can be analysed for traces of explosives.  Security screening of baggage can also be found in museums, government building and large sporting events and concerts.

With the large displacement of refugees from the Middle East, the situation could become much worse with terrorist groups exporting their explosive capabilities and weapons abroad. So the searches seem to be here to stay and may indeed impact our lives with schools, universities, hotels and places of worship being obvious suitable targets due to recent events.

But how effective are the commonplace security measures?

It is evident that security screening at airports is catching prohibited items. Last year in the US the TSA found 2,212 firearms in carry-on bags across the nation’s airports[1]. These figures surely must act as a deterrent.

But how many did they miss?

Homeland Security in the US recently conducted a series of red team tests to see how many banned items they could smuggle through airport security. The results were dramatic: Out of 70 tests, the red team managed to successfully sneak banned items through security 67 times[2]. These figures are particularly alarming due to the fact that airport screening is supposedly the most thorough. It certainly should raise concerns on how effective less sophisticated screening is at large sporting events where a security lapse could resort in some very unwelcome front page news across the world.

The recent Charleston church shooting once again highlights how easy it is in the US to obtain a gun with the shooter, Dylann Roof, receiving the weapon as a birthday present. With ineffective screening, the next Dylann Roof could appear at a baseball game or a theatre in a number of locations across the world and it seems the present standard security measures would be ineffective to stop him.

And that is the point, the standard security measures are currently ineffective, but all is not lost as Xylosys Security Solutions are here to help.  We can provide training on more effective surveillance and screening, search techniques and technology and finally we have partnerships with leading edge technology firms that provide solutions that can dramatically raise the bar in threat identification of explosives and guns.

For more information, please call +44 (0) 203 289 7899   or email info@xylosys.com .

Conor Greenstreet – Analyst

[1] http://blog.tsa.gov/2015/01/tsa-2014-year-in-review.html

[2] http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/01/politics/tsa-failed-undercover-airport-screening-tests/

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