On 7–11 of November 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in the vicinity of Schiphol Airport, a CEPOL course entitled “06/2011 Airport Security” was held.
The course was organised for the first time by the Dutch CEPOL Team from The Netherlands Police Academy, closely and kindly supported by the Royal Dutch Marechaussee and representatives from the Greek and Italian border police forces.
This CEPOL activity aimed to provide a unique opportunity for participants to experience many of the challenges faced in dealing with the various aspects of airport security, passenger and staff safety at airports and other current issues related to border police activities. Over four days, the participants attending this course got a close and up-to-date view of many aspects of border control and daily work at a major airport.
On the first day, the course was officially opened by the Brigade General Mr. Van den Brink of the Royal Marechaussee and the Director of Education of the Police Academy, Mr. Peije de Meij. Throughout the duration of the course, experts informed the participants on specific topics in the field, all moderated by the Course Manager Mrs Sandra Wijkhuijs (Police Academy) and supported by Mr Erwin Dorst (Royal Marechaussee).
Some of the topics discussed included: security measures during high risk flights; crisis management in the case of disaster and future (technical) developments in border control. The expert invited from the Greek border police informed the participants on daily practices in place at Athens Airport whilst the expert from Italy talked about visitor screening and using access control. A much appreciated presentation covered an interesting view on the procedure of ‘Search, Detect, React’ (SDR). This is a working method that integrates the human factor, technology and regulations into one cohesive process with a proactive approach to security as the main goal.
By means of an interactive approach, the participants were asked to assess in small groups the security situation of Schiphol Airport. This challenging assessment was a great way to facilitate an active exchange of experiences and to reach a good detailed understanding of the challenges of the border police. Furthermore, the security policy of the Royal Marechaussee was clearly explained and demonstrated during behind the scenes visits at Schiphol Airport. These visits, guided by experts from the Royal Marechaussee, provided the participants with a closer look at border police related developments and security at a tactical, strategic and international level. One of the course’s most appreciated moments was a demonstration given by a specialised explosives team and their trained dog. A participant from Denmark stated: “The training contained an excellent balance between presentations and practical visits to the airport. The course was a great opportunity to exchange views with colleagues from other European airports.” A colleague from Poland added: “Being amongst these professionals and exchanging knowledge about so many aspects of the developments in border control has given me ideas for the preparation of the Euro 2012 football championships.”
Improving networking was an important aspect of the course. As explained by several attendants: “It’s very important to have a good network because when a problem or question arises concerning another European country, you can simply phone someone you know. You know a face instead of only a name.” Twenty-four senior officers all involved in border police and airport security from sixteen EU Member States took part in this successful course.