CISF won’t be over-friendly with passengers at airports anymore

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New Delhi, Oct 8: Shifting from ‘broad smile’ to a more disciplined and ‘sufficient smile’, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has asked its men not to be ‘over-friendly’ with the air-travellers so that they can focus on performing their core duties at the airports.
The aviation security force felt that being too friendly with passengers might lead to distraction and subsequently a security lapse.
“From broad smiles, we are now coming to a sufficient smile system as focusing on the core area of ensuring foolproof security is more important,” said CISF’s Additional DG and chief of aviation security M A Ganapathy when asked about imparting soft skills to CISF personnel for better interaction with passengers.
CISF Director General (DG) Rajesh Ranjan also said that an over-stress on just enhancing soft skills of the airport security personnel had its own pitfalls.
“We cannot be over-friendly with the passengers because one of the reasons cited as to why 9/11 (the 2001 terror attack on twin towers in US) happened…was excessive reliance on passenger-friendly features where security personnel went out of the way to ensure that the passenger is facilitated, thereby compromising on security,” the DG said.
“So, friendly smiles are good, but focus should be on the core duties (of security) that we perform at the airports as also rightly pointed out by the ADG,” he said.
Also, the behaviour and discipline of CISF personnel have been analysed by many agencies, he said, “and I can say that we shine above the world in this domain.”
Both were addressing media on the two-day international seminar on aviation security, being organised by CISF at Vigyan Bhawan from Tuesday. Representatives of 18 countries including four officials USA’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was formed in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks.
The paramilitary force guards 60 civil airports of the country at present and has also made a case for installation of body scanners for passenger screening and procurement of body-worn cameras for its personnel to make security system robust at airports. It is also exploring CT scan technology for use at airports so that travellers don’t need to take their laptops out during the security check.
Ranjan added that the force is experimenting with modern technology at various airports of the country for better security.
“We have tested the body scanners and body-worn cameras over a period of time and we have given our recommendations to the government which includes the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Union Home Ministry.
“The recommendation is to procure these gadgets,” he added.
Ranjan said the force is of the opinion that all civil airports in the country, including J&K, should be under its security cover but issues like cost of deployment (of CISF) and threat perception to a facility are subjects analysed by other stakeholders in the domain.
Ranjan added that CISF was “ready and prepared” to take over security responsibilities of the new and small airports made operational by the government under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS).