Airport Security Week: Interview with Steve Wood, Leeds Beckett University

Posted: 21 September 2016 | Roy Manuell, Digital Content Producer | No comments yet

We ask security expert Steve Wood, Leeds Beckett University, a few questions on the challenges facing airports at present…


Steven Wood

As part of Airport Security week looking ahead to Airport IT & Security that lands at London Heathrow on the 27th-28th September, International Airport Review will be looking in detail at all things security, inarguably one of the industry’s hottest topics at the moment.

Follow us throughout the week as we discuss news stories, issues and challenges facing airports with exclusive commentary from industry experts…

Following an excellent blog from Steve Wood, Leeds Beckett University on the changes to passenger experience since 9/11, we ask the security expert a few questions on the challenges facing airports at present.

1. What are the major issues affecting airports at the moment with regard to security?

  • Landside attacks: the recent sleeper cell discovered in Germany that may have links to Isis presents a reminder that the Brussels and Istanbul attacks are still very much possible at a UK airport. Access to airport terminal buildings in the UK remains very much open.
  • Outside threat: flights that come directly to the UK from countries which have had historical terrorist connections such as Egypt, Turkey or other countries that may have the same security standards as the UK/EU but apply them in a less rigorous way.
  • Insider attack: rogue staff or attacks supported by rogue staff that allow access to external threats.

2. How do you think Brexit will affect airport security in the UK?

Brexit will take at least two years to happen once Article 50 has been triggered; currently that may be a lot longer than two years with what appears to be a lot of indecision from the Government. Until The European Communities Act 1972 has been explicitly repealed, the Treaty of Lisbon will still apply. When and if the UK leaves there is likely to be an agreement to follow EC Regulation 300/2008. However, it is unlikely the UK will be subject to EU checks or enforcement. The sector is unlikely to see any change as the responsibility will be driven by the CAA with approval of the Department of Transport. The UK is still seen as a desired target of terrorism it will stand with its allies in Europe and elsewhere following Brexit .

3. As a lecturer at a UK University, what sort of issues are you particularly discussing and encouraging students to consider?

We run a counter-terrorism module at our University for students studying law degree. Students who study the module are exposed to the development of terrorism, particularly since 9/11 and how the government has used legislation to try and prevent further attacks. We look at radicalisation and de-radicalisation programmes as well at airports and the policing of airports.

4. In 3 steps, what can airports do to fundamentally improve their security system?

Airports can:

  • Improve security by ensuring that passengers are aware of security measures and prepare for screening in good time.
  • There is a need for a continued professional development of staff.
  • A regular and thorough review of security in light of emerging threats.

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