22 AUGUST 2011

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Article from BTNews 22 AUGUST 2011

COMMENT: Belt up

Those of us that require to wear waist belts (commonly know as “belts”) are quite used to the ignominy and pure nuisance of taking one’s trouser support equipment off at British airport security controls.  How many times are you tempted to drop your trousers?  Benny Hill would have had a feast day!

This pointless exercise seems now to have extended itself to the 2012 Olympics, belts asked to be removed at the entry points for London Prepares.  It seems that the rules for the Olympic precautions are set by the British Home Office using as a basis the guidelines suggested by ICAO for air travel.

AERBT would like to suggest that the airline belt rules are daft, and by implication those for London 2012. 

The Department for Transport uses the old adage “we can’t comment on specific security issues” when asked the reasoning behind the belts.  It seems to AERBT that when it is obvious that the belt in question is made of solid material it is unlikely that the substance it is created from is a material of a dangerous nature.  Would it be detected if it was unsafe?

Security will then say that they cannot trust the judgement of an individual staff member and the rule is for everyone.  However it is noticeable, certainly at London Prepares, that some ladies with built up shoes are stopped, and others with the substance of the high heel unknown, are let through without demure.

The only way for the regular traveller to get around the problem is to wear braces (“braces for trousers” as Ronnie Barker would have said) and as far as we know there is not a British Braces Society promoting the idea.

What the current regulations do is inconvenience airline passengers, make life more difficult for security staff and slows the whole process down.  Is it the same for Eurostar travellers?  Please Mr Home Office have a rethink.  And if what AERBT says makes sense pass the information on to your London 2012 colleagues.  We want the Olympics to be safe but needless bureaucracy we can do without.

Malcolm Ginsberg
Editor in Chief

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