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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Has security improved?
Security has been stepped up significantly worldwide in the year following the 11 September attacks.

The US has seen a radical shake-up of its intelligence agencies with an annual budget of $37bn being put aside to co-ordinate counter terrorism activities.

Airports and major urban areas have seen visible increases in armed police and security.

However, a number of reports have suggested that security lapses are still occurring, particularly at airports, with sharp objects and other banned items still getting through, compromising the safety of passengers.

Has security been improved enough? What more can be done? Do you still travel by plane?

Have your say

I don't think enough has been done. We're still taking baby steps towards security.
Bryce, USA

I dare say that we've "closed the barn door after the horses have bolted." Terrorists will attack at a point of weakness, not strength. So, confiscate all the knitting-needles you want from old grandmothers, the next attack will come elsewhere.
Kristian, Canada


Security has vastly improved at the cost of delays and public inconvenience

Igonikon Jack, USA
11 September was a wake-up call. Security has vastly improved at the cost of delays and public inconvenience. It will take a while for the system to achieve its goal of maximum protection of the public and near-absolute frustration of the terrorists.
Igonikon Jack, USA

Sadly, I feel that these security steps are no more than plain window dressing, as reflected in many readers comments, airlines still issue metal knives, forks, glass bottles etc once on-board a flight. Having your nail clippers removed from your bag at the check-in only makes it more infuriating once you are inside the plane.
Patrick, Belgium

I find it strange that we are not allowed to carry the smallest of potential weapons through 'security' at airports, and then are encouraged to buy as many potential Molotov cocktails, in the form of whiskey etc. as we can carry on to the plane.
Lin B, UK

There is no such thing as '100% security'. Assassinations of world leaders and attacks on 'secure' premises have proven that time and again. Our focus should be on prevention. One year down the line and I am unable to recall a single meaningful act that has helped lessen the hatred that plagues us.
Sanjay, Singapore


I find this rather worrying to say the least

April, UK expat in Switzerland
I fly regularly between the UK and Switzerland, and have had one pair of nail scissors and one tiny penknife taken from me over the last 12 months. No problem. However, in August I flew from Zurich to Heathrow and back again with a pair of dressmaking scissors in my handluggage, and these were not spotted by either airport. I find this rather worrying to say the least. If I were a terrorist, I could do much more damage with the 5 inch blades of my dressmaking scissors than with the inch long blades of my nail scissors!
April, UK expat in Switzerland

I was at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4 (the day of the shooting) and if we have more security lapses like that one, we can all expect another 11 September.
Phil, Los Angeles, USA

The security thing has gone overboard. When is the last time you have heard about 19 hijackers taking over planes with box cutters and plastic knives? Never. This is not like an every day thing you should expect. No matter what you do, someone who has had a really bad day will show their anger in public and do the unbelievable, no matter how much you raise security.
Melissa, USA


If we want to travel by air we must accept the risks that entails

David Pranklin, UK
You cannot eliminate the risk of terrorism on board aircraft. No matter how much money is spent, it is simply not possible to have a 100% secure system. The fact is there is a huge demand for air travel and that huge demand has to be managed against a background of heightened awareness of what can happen. The fact is, if we want to travel by air we must accept the risks that entails whether those risks arise from terrorism, human error or mechanical failure. We have no right to eliminate risk.
David Pranklin, UK

Airlines are no longer the main issue. Before 11 September, the belief was that a hijacker's plan was simply to land the plane and demand ransom for hostages. These days the assumption is different. The days of hijacking are over as passengers see themselves as having no chance of rescue anyway, and would be prepared to fight a hijacking terrorist to the death.
Ben Denton, UK

I am a regular flyer and am not overly concerned about terror attacks. However, I do despair at how complacent airlines can be. After effectively locking the pilots into their flight deck for the duration of the trip post 11 September, I now see the door frequently opening in-flight for the crew to receive refreshments. Also as pointed out previously, the airlines continue to give out potential weapons. Air France issue plastic knives, but steel forks, while BA use all plastic cutlery, serve wine in plastic cups but then give out the wine in glass bottles. All the terroists did was find a weak point within the system. They will try do so again in the future, and unless the airlines take safety more seriously I am afraid they will succeed.
Rich M, Germany (ex-pat)


Security are picking on people who don't fit the WASP category

Claire, London, UK
There now appears to be a lot of tokenism as far as bag searches and items being removed are concerned, a real obsession with shoes over bags/pockets. I also hate to say that I get the distinct impression that security are picking on people who don't fit into the WASP category, US passport or not. I am not worried about flying; the lunatics get the better of everyone.
Claire, London, UK

I travelled on a codeshare flight with an Air Canada plane and staff, but Qantas catering. The Air Canada staff were amazed to see that metal knives and forks, plus real wine glasses and bottles were being used at a time of heightened security. It's also interesting that - in the US at least - cigarette lighters and matches aren't on the named list of prohibited cabin items. Given that flights are generally non-smoking and the case of the shoe bomb, why are these still allowed?
Nigel Burton, Australia


You don't need a jetplane

Anon, UK
If airport security were made 100% fail-safe, it wouldn't reduce the risk of terrorism. It is frightening, but there are 100 other possible ways to create havoc among a civilian population; chemical plants, supertankers, public water systems, oil and gas refineries, tunnels and underground train networks, bridges, public ferries, stock exchanges, etc. etc. You don't need a jetplane. I'm very scared that some lunatic will try to prove it on Wednesday.
Anon, UK

In the US in the last year about 45,000 people were killed on the roads, about 30,000 children were abducted, 120,000 children went missing in violent circumstances. If I was going to the US my preoccupation as regards safety would NOT be with terrorism but rather the mundane which has no political mileage. Why is everybody ignoring the fact that the threat of terrorism compared to everyday threats is statistically irrelevant?
Ian Obinson, Sydney, Australia

A ban on all hand baggage apart from medicines would go a long way to improving security. We can do without it for a few hours whilst in flight where there is normally good catering anyway.
Pete, UK


Ground security hasn't changed a jot

Rich, Berlin, Germany
I fly now and again between Berlin and UK. It just worries me that you still seem to be able to get on flights with anything short of a gun or a bomb, with no risk of punishment. We hear that cockpits are almost impossible to gain entry to now, but it seems that ground security hasn't changed a jot. Seems to me the problem is being tackled the wrong way around.
Rich, Berlin, Germany

I have taken several European flights this summer and the added security has varied in its intensity. On the first occasion, flying to Paris, the pair of small nail scissors in my hand luggage did not cause any problems. However, flying to Mallorca recently, the same pair of scissors was detected, removed and 'destroyed'. Still, on both occasions I had to pay an extra 7 on my ticket for the security measures, arguably seeing nothing for it, where is this money going, if not to protect our safety?
Darren, London, UK


Security is still pathetic in many areas

Jay, London, UK
I feel that sadly, security is still pathetic and poor in many areas. Sure, we see higher police presence in European countries, but the potential for terrorist attacks from the Pacific is still very high. I flew from Nadi (Fiji) to Los Angeles and the airport was nothing more than a concrete strip - it was possible to walk across the runway as there were no fences. The airport does not have any electronic scanning devices and the only checks carried out were one of two fingers poked into the top of my case. Poorer Pacific countries could all be used as a base for attack, and it is time to realise that not all the world has security procedures like the West.
Jay, London, UK

My family and I flew out to Barbados just three months after 11 September and the security was visibly stringent, checks before you checked in, more scrutinising of bags, and checks just before you boarded. May this year and I noticed that those security checks have now gone, no additional check-in checks, no checks before you get onto the plane. I'd rather spend an extra hour in security checks than gain an hour in waiting room.
Ian Westwood, Southampton, UK


Much of the increased security is largely pointless

Dug Falby, London, UK
Much of the increased security is largely pointless and is frankly detrimental to both our economy and culture. Clearly all that is required to hijack a plane is one's presence on the aircraft. A suitably trained terrorist can seize a jet with his bare hands and some well chosen words.
Dug Falby, London, UK

I recently bought a Swiss army knife air-side in a duty free shop at Geneva airport. I carried the knife in my hand baggage and subsequently went through the x-ray machine before boarding the plane. The knife was not picked up which disturbed me on two counts: Firstly, why was I able to buy this air-side at all? Secondly, why was it not detected?
Iain, London, UK

In the past year I have probably taken about 40 flights altogether. I was travelling a couple of days after 11 September too, there were huge lines at the departure gates at Heathrow, even before the x-ray machines and officers were checking everyone's boarding cards against their passport. I was impressed. One year on, I still travel a lot. There are no queues at the departure gates, all you need to do is casually flash your boarding card to officers. On the way back, British/EU citizens no longer have to stop at the passport control desk, they can now just flash their passport in front of the officers and are good to go. BR> Marianne, London, UK


I will not stop flying because that would be letting them win

David Lovelace, London UK
As a Telecoms engineer that has to fly to New York and most major cities in Europe, I do still feel there is a risk of someone crashing another plane into a major building. I will not stop flying because that would be letting them win, I went to New York in December last year on business and I have to say I was relieved when we touched down. I am worried of another attack but I am not changing my life because of it.
David Lovelace, London UK

Although security has been tightened up, it has surprised me that there has not been significant attacks, although not on the scale of 11 September. We must accept that there are potential lunatics out there, these people are determined, and believe that it is what Allah wants. As to whether I would fly again, my lifestyle means I don't fly, and I would certainly think long and hard about it. Sad, but true.
Vicky, UK

The world has suffered a great loss with the human tragedy that we all so clearly remember from the graphic scenes of this sad and sorrowful incident a year ago but we have to get over these things to move on and grow in our personal walks. It is time that the world grew stronger from this and put to the side the deep hurt and mourning that we all had share in this affair. Turn to God and rejoice.
Anon, Stoke on Trent


It left me wondering just how safe air travel really is

A. Dugan, Belfast, Northern Ireland
I travelled between Belfast and London in June 2002. Security presence at the Belfast airport was visibly higher (as it usually is) however, my search could only be described as fickle. I was carrying a combined money clip and knife in my trouser pocket. When I passed through the scanning booth, it picked up the metal object. I was superficially searched whereby the security officer was more concerned with checking the heels of my shoes than asking to see what was in my pocket? It left me wondering just how safe air travel really is.
A. Dugan, Belfast, Northern Ireland

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