Replacement x-ray machines and a body scanner are needed at Guernsey Airport "as soon as possible" at a cost of more than a million pounds.
States Trading Supervisory Board President Peter Ferbrache made the comments in response to written questions from Deputy John Gollop over complaints about airport security and reports of "unnecessarily insensitive or overzealous" treatment of passengers by some screening personnel.
"A number of issues concerning security provisions at Guernsey Airport have been experienced lately which have given some passengers reasonable cause to complain," said Deputy Ferbrache. "These issues have arisen over a combination of factors, the most significant of which are outside of the control of either the airport management or the contractor providing the security, G4S...The level of service experienced by some passengers has fallen below what they should expect and we apologise to anyone who has been affected."
Deputy Peter Ferbrache is the President of the STSB, which has political responsibility for the island'sports.
He said there are three main reasons, all of which are "unacceptable and need to be addressed".
"Firstly, extra stringent regulations imposed by the regulator, secondly, G4S is struggling for staff and if they need to replace their staff they need to go through a security process that can take three months, and thirdly, we don’t have a body scanner at the moment and our existing x-ray machines are of an old vintage and they need to be replaced."
Responding to a question from Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, who said that the island's reputation is at stake, he responded: "We are giving this as much priority as we can - need to replace the two x-ray machines and we need a body scanner. Because they have moved into this new facility there is room to do that.
"I understand the cost of all that is somewhere between a million and a million and a half pounds. We [the STSB] are asking that be activated as soon as possible."
"The recent redevelopment of the security area has not been a cause of the recent issues, however the larger screening area has provided us with the potential of upgrading existing equipment with more modern technology. This could reduce the need for body and bag searches, provide other significant improvements for passengers and the airport management has made this a priority."
He said everyone involved is committed to improving levels of service. Despite suggestions that Guernsey passengers are generally "low-risk", Deputy Ferbrache said that point of view does not fly.
"Unfortunately, in the context of airport security, no passenger is considered low risk. While it may at times seem disproportionate for a community such as ours, to maintain a licence to operate the airport and it has to comply with the screening requirements set by national and international regulations - this is simply non-negotiable."
Deputy Gollop asked questions about complaints over the new airport departures security, overzealous screening personnel and the provision of additional customer care and disability condition awareness training.
"All passengers are entitled to expect courtesy and sensitivity. We are aware that on occasions that needs to improve and steps are being taken to address this.
"That includes additional customer service training for all G4S personnel bolstered by on-site visits by trainers, airport management is working with the company to deliver this and in the future replacing existing equipment with new technology should also assist with reducing the need for physical bag searches and improving the experience of navigating through security."
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