HL Deb 30 October 2002 vol 640 cc37-8WA
Lord Hughes of Woodside

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to review airport security measures.[HL6258]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston):

Aviation security measures remain at an enhanced level following the attacks on 11 September last year. The Government keep these measures under constant review and from time to time additional protective steps will be taken as the situation demands.

In May this year, as part of the process of continuing review, my right honourable friends the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport appointed Sir John Wheeler to conduct an independent examination of airport security. The terms of reference for this work, set out in full in the report Sir John submitted to them on 13 September, included a focus on the threat from serious and organised crime at UK airports and the role of the police service.

The Government are grateful to Sir John for the care with which he analysed the issues, and we have considered carefully his findings and recommendations. These, together with his introduction to the report, are today being placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The main body of the documents contains information about operational security matters, and for that reason it would not be appropriate to publish the report in its entirety.

The report endorses the National Aviation Security Programme and the commitment of those working to deliver its objectives. It also makes some valuable recommendations around the need to strengthen strategic direction, to undertake a detailed multi-agency assessment of the potential threats from serious and organised crime, and to overhaul the arrangements by which airports may be designated for policing by uniformed officers. The Government are happy to accept in principle all of Sir John's recommendations. The Department for Transport and the Home Office are working closely together on implementation, which will bring in the police and other control agencies and the airport industry.