Security passes suspended as 300 staff at Heathrow security under police investigation
12 August 2016 • Author: Roy Manuell
Staff, believed to be predominantly in the cleaning and catering departments, at London Heathrow are under police investigation after allegations regarding the circulation of fraudulent security passes.
It was announced on Wednesday that two women had been arrested suspected of fraud and money laundering, Scotland Yard has said.
Sodexo, a contractor at the airport reassured that the suspension was, above all, “a precautionary measure”.
The move has called into question airside security at the UK’s busiest airport.
A Metropolitan police spokeswoman confirmed that two women had been taken into custody.
“They have been arrested in relation to an allegation that money has been fraudulently taken from a bank account.”
Scotland Yard however later suggested that there was “no evidence that airside passes have been sold”.
Heathrow security under threat?
While there is no indication that the arrests are in any way terror-related, the news inevitably comes as a scare at a time when key European capitals have been heavily targeted by attacks.
Tougher measures were introduced during Tony Blair’s government in 2002 following two large-scale robberies at Heathrow and included the need to declare five years’ employment references and records without gaps or anomalies.
That said, the Department for Transport conceded that aviation security is a topic constantly under review but that the government was taking “all steps necessary to keep the public safe.”
As recently as last month, an alert from counter-terrorism NGO Site Intelligence Group warned the government of a threat being made by a “pro-Islamic State Twitter account” threatening that “there will be a device placed in either Heathrow, LAX [Los Angeles] or JFK [New York] airports”.
The Department for Transport said speaking with respect to the latest developments: “We are aware of this issue. Safety and security of passengers is our priority.
“We keep aviation security under constant review, but as this matter is the subject of an ongoing police investigation we are unable to comment further at this time.”