Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Airport Security

The recent conviction of terrorists who were targeting commercial airlines reminded me of an incident at Prague Airport. I noticed a large plastic bag, unattended, next to a bank of seats by the Relay newsagents. Being a Brit and thus having had to be aware of potential bombs since the IRA's attacks in the 1970's I immediately went into bomb alert mode.

Fortunately walking towards me and the bag were two Czech security police, so I walked on confident that they would see the bag and deal with it. Fifteen minutes later I walked back and there was the bag, the security police had walked straight past it. I decided that I would report it. The two policemen were now on their return patrol and so I walked up to them and told them. They hardly responded and I watched in amazement as they sauntered in the bag's direction. I do not know if they acted on my information, my flight was being called.

I cannot say how shocked I was by their attitude. Of course I knew that in all probability the bag was completely harmless, but it needed to be treated as if it wasn't. In the UK it would certainly have been dealt with efficiently and without fuss but nevertheless seriously. The Czech Republic has soldiers in Afghanistan - it is a potential target, as indeed is every country in the West. I pray to God that the Czechs do not have to deal with terrorism, as we Brits have done over the decades.

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