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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 14:15 GMT
Plane spotters help fight crime
Terror scare at Bournemouth airport in 2006
There have been several terrorism scares at Bournemouth airport
Aviation enthusiasts are being asked to help police combat crime and terrorism at Bournemouth International Airport.

Plane spotters in Dorset will be given advice on how to identify suspicious activity and how to contact police officers if they do.

They will also receive identity cards and be asked to sign a code of conduct.

The airport has experienced several terrorism scares. The latest was in the summer when it was cordoned off after a package was found near the terminal.

Dorset Police said the scheme would not jeopardise security at the airport and the identity cards could not be used to gain access to any secure or sensitive areas of the airport.

'Two-way partnership'

They said that by teaming up with the plane spotters police would also be able to monitor who was a legitimate aviation enthusiast.

Insp Andrew Earley said it was a "two-way partnership".

"We have issued members of Bournemouth Aviation Group with official ID cards and passes so they are inconvenienced less by police and security staff [while watching the planes from the perimeter around the airport]," he said.

Insp Earley said neither was the partnership designed to replace security at the airport but would provide "extra eyes and ears in the area".

Bournemouth airport passengers
Passenger numbers at the airport are expected to treble in 10 years

"While there is no more threat to Bournemouth International Airport from terrorism than anywhere else in the country, we hope that by working with local aviation enthusiasts we can keep the airport safe from aviation crime," he said.

"Aviation enthusiasts can play a vital part in the security of any airport.

"They spend a lot of time in the area and can have as much knowledge of their surroundings as local beat officers to notice anything out of place or untoward."

Steve Rhymes, chairman of Bournemouth Aviation Group, said his members were very happy to help.

"With our extensive knowledge of the airfield, the local aviation enthusiasts feel that we can provide extra support to ensure that any untoward activity we may encounter is brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities as soon as possible," he said.

Dorset Police are hoping to extend the initiative to include businesses at the airport.

SEE ALSO
Appeal for vigilance at Gatwick
29 Apr 04 |  Southern Counties

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