No, you can't find me in that address now as I move out from the hall. Though I hang around there so...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Security, Security, Security

So our straight-talking leader of the UK has unveiled his latest anti-terrorism safety strategy recently. Here are what he said:

The conclusions today of the review by the Noble Lord West on the protection of strategic infrastructure, stations, ports and airports - and of other crowded places - identifies a need to step up physical protection against possible vehicle bomb attacks.

This will include, where judged necessary, improved security at railway stations - focusing first on those of our 250 busiest stations most at risk - and at airport terminals, ports and at over one hundred sensitive installations.

The report proposes the installation of robust physical barriers as protection against vehicle bomb attacks, the nomination of vehicle exclusion zones to keep all but authorised vehicles at a safe distance, and making buildings blast resistant.

While no major failures in our protective security have been identified, companies that are responsible for crowded places will now be given detailed and updated advice on how they can improve their resilience against attack, both by better physical protection and greater vigilance in identifying suspicious behaviour.

So, he wanted more security across the board in public buildings, such as erecting blast-proof walls and restricted road access to annoy everyone who wants to drop off as close to the place as possible (especially for people with mobility difficulties).

Not only that, he also wants to add stop searches at very busy railway stations, which in its very nature is open to the public at most of the times, I don't know how to react on that, as a result that will be subjected to another post.

In lieu of combating the climate change, where air travel is the one of the biggest emitter per capita, I'm sure that's why he's stepping up yet more security measures for visible deterrence, both the "terrorist" and "traveller".

Mr Speaker, just as we are constantly vigilant to the ways in which we can tighten our security, so too we must ensure that the travelling public are able to go about their business in the normal way.

In the most sensitive locations, for example some large rail stations - and whilst doing everything to avoid inconvenience to passengers - we are planning additional screening of baggage and passenger searches.

But in the last few months at key airports there has already been additional investment in new screening capacity. We have been able to review the one-bag per passenger rule and the Transport Secretary is announcing today that as soon as we are confident that airports are able to handle additional baggage safely, these restrictions on hand baggage will be progressively lifted.

Now I don't know whether it seems to be all smoke and screen. I would definitely propose the following security measures to protect public safety (the use of italics makes the statement half-ironic):

  1. Guard towers surrounding the perimeter as well as fences
  2. Setting up checkpoints for all entrances of the airport
    • All entering and exiting vehicles subject to ID check and boot search by airport security
    • All entering passengers would have their passport checked, no matter how they come in: by bus, by car, by coach and even by train. Train passengers would have to pass through a security booth not unlike Eurostar
  3. Check-in baggages screened with X-ray machine prior to approaching check-in counters for all destinations, not just the US, not just a number of airlines. That would of course include budget airlines.
  4. Normal security procedures like any other airport at the security gate. However, Japanese have already concerned with explosive liquids (read molotov cocktails) before 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.
Where the hell you can find such security? Narita International Airport, the International Gateway of Tokyo. Why? Because of the use of land to build the airport. That's why most new airports in Japan are built by the sea: it is easier to buy off fishermen apparently.

I'm sure some people would like to travel like that, right?

Of course, Japanese being Japanese, they make you feel that despite the inconvenience, they will be very considerate and provide as much assistance as possible to make you feel that you are respected as a human being rather than a scum. Here are a story I heard from my friends of parents:

They travelled in January 2002 around the world for business, especially attending some trade fairs. One stop was Orlando: as a result, they have been singled out to the most stringent security procedures all over the journey whenever and wherever they boarded the plane during the journey. That meant full baggage search while checking in and full body search and shoe search at the security. Now, it went off badly as security attendants badly treated one of them at the start of the journey in Hong Kong, she was so incensed by the insensitivity of their command that she threatened to lodge complaint against them. However things changed in Japan...

When they arrived and departed in Japan, they also got their shoes searched. However, the security attendants provided them sleepers when their shoe got searched, they even offered a cup of tea. Now this is the way to treat your suffering passengers while scanning.

Now, not only they want to provide extra security for us, they wanted to extend the period of detention without charge from 28 days to 58 days. This is subject to another long post, from the history of habeas corpus to the controlling nature of the New Labour government and the Bush government...

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