No concourse security,CISF banks on ‘random profiling’ to keep IGI Airport safe

In the absence of a concourse security plan and its possibility,the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) manning security at the Indira Gandhi International Airport has undertaken what officials call ‘random profiling’ to keep the high-risk airport safe.

Written by Geeta Gupta | New Delhi | Published:March 14, 2009 1:36 am

In the absence of a concourse security plan and its possibility,the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) manning security at the Indira Gandhi International Airport has undertaken what officials call ‘random profiling’ to keep the high-risk airport safe.

The average number of ‘random’ checks range between 250 to 300 people in the span of 24 hours,say officials.

Certain ‘suspicious’ passengers are profiled on the basis of intelligence inputs and other details,and checked thoroughly at the first point of entry,according to officials. “An average of 160 to 180 checks at the domestic terminal and approximately 100 to 120 such checks at the international terminal are conducted in a span of 24 hours every day,” an official said.

Passengers enter an airport terminal and check in by just showing the air ticket. No frisking takes place at the first entry gate.

“There is a specific group of security personnel deployed around the airport to profile passengers on a random basis. A proper concourse security check for all passengers is not possible at the IGI Airport as it will lead to a traffic nightmare outside the terminal,” a senior CISF official said on the condition of anonymity.

At present,Srinagar Airport is the only airport in India where passengers have to go through the security drill even before entering the terminal building.

While officials say the existing heightened security checks that passengers have to go through inside the terminal remain in place,explosives detection tests on random profiles are being carried out as per protocol in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Taking into account the heightened threat perception at the Delhi Airport,another CISF official,however,said the security system at the airport might not be foolproof. “The entire baggage of the person profiled by the CISF men is frisked using EVDs (explosive vapour detectors). But random profiling may not be foolproof as the gadgets detect only explosives. The EVDs cannot detect other weapons like automatic guns,” another official said on the condition of anonymity.

-Traffic snarls grounded concourse security plan in 2002?

A concourse security plan was implemented at airports across India in 2002. But lacking the basic infrastructure,the plan drew flak from the public as it led to long queues and traffic snarls outside terminal buildings. “Many countries have a concourse security plan. But it cannot work in every country,keeping in mind different demographic characteristics,” said C K P Sinha,retired regional deputy commissioner,Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. Even though experts feel it is good to have a foolproof concourse security plan,inclement weather conditions in India and the fact that many friends and relatives crowd outside the terminal make the plan difficult to implement in the country. —ENS

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