Airline Security 2006 (imitation grenade imported by air)
This imitation grenade was imported into the UK last week.
It is a cigarette lighter. That is, therefore, entirely lawful. However, you would have expected someone to have checked whether or not it was a real grenade.
What happened is that on this particular flight in the departing airport the security guards were quite busy searching some people of Asian origin. However, they just waved through the individual depicted with the grenade lighter and a clip lighter which he had in his duty free bag.
The grenade is very comparable in weight and size to an anti-personnel grenade.
I have written to the Government (Home Secretary: John Reid) raising this issue with the name of the airport the flight started in.
I accept that there are arguments about whether we have gone a bit over the top in terms of airport security in the UK. In particular the idea that certain gel filled prostheses need to be removed and searched seems dubious. I am not sure whether or not the government have it right, but we do have to trust the judgement of the security services on this.
However, if it is possible to bring in an imitation grenade by air I would ask the question as to whether or not it is possible to do the same with a real grenade.
Obviously I am not going to identify publicly the air route that this came on, but I do think the government do need to check that basic security requirements are being complied with in other countries.
There is also a question as to whether it is made very simple to import weaponry simply by doing it on a low security route which is not checked in the UK.