One of the forthcoming Bills, which, for some short term political expediency and headlines, Gordon brown has decided to pre-announce, ahead of the Queen's Speech in November, is a Transport Security Bill
The main part of this Bill appears to be intent on
requiring the majority of airports in England, Wales & Scotland to agree a local airport security plan with their key stakeholders, based upon an agreed threat and risk analysis;
Are we actually meant to believe that none of these airports and none of the local Police forces have any Security Plans at the moment ? If not, then why not ?
The crucial part of this Bill appears to be
allowing the policing element of this plan to be charged to the airport operator.
How much will this extra bloated bureaucracy and "security theatre" cost, and how much will be inflicted on the traveling public ?
What budget accountability will there be through local Police Authorities for this extra money ?
See the excellent Eco Postman Patel blog for more details about the cost implications, especially for "low cost airlines".
The rest of the Bill seems to be utterly pointless:
Ratifying in UK law the 2005 Protocols to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, by creating a number of new offences relating to committing acts of terrorism at sea, for example:
- using a ship to transport weapons of mass destruction or in any other manner that causes death or serious injury or damage;
- using a ship or fixed platform to discharge any explosive, radioactive material or Biological, Chemical or Nuclear weapon or any other hazardous substance to cause death or injury; or using any of those substances against a ship or fixed platform;
Is the Government seriously going to pretend that in cases where "discharge any explosive, radioactive material or Biological, Chemical or Nuclear weapon or any other
hazardous substance to cause death or injury"" applies, that there are not already plenty of other laws which completely cover any conceivable offences of murder, terrorism, or those involving specific nuclear , biological or chemical weapons etc. which are already in force ?
Terrorism legislation already applies anywhere and everywhere throughout the entire universe, including at sea.
The section on
Permitting enforcement officers (e.g. members of the Royal Navy):
- to board and detain ships where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the ship or a person on board the ship is involved in an offence under the Protocols;
- to search for and seize evidence and arrest persons suspected of
- to board ships that are suspected of being involved in acts of piracy
"giving the Royal Navy explicit powers to tackle piracy."
is also utter nonsense.
Home Office Department for Transport trying to pretend that all previous Royal Navy anti-piracy operations back through the centuries, are somehow illegal ?
If so, is the
Home Office Department for Transport going to financially compensate all the pirates, slavers , drug and contraband smugglers who have been boarded or killed by the Royal Navy in the past ?
The United Nations International Maritime Organisation 2005 Protocols to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation came into force in 2005, and, for no good reason whatsoever, were not ratified by the UK until January 2007, according to the Department for Transport's security bureaucrats: TRANSEC Annual Report 2007-2008
Who agreed to this United Nations amendment to previous protocols, on behalf of the United Kingdom ? Why did the UK not veto this bureaucratic nonsense ?
All that is required under the Protocols is a Statement saying that we already comply with them, and have done so for centuries.
Why is any new legislation required at all, especially since every possible offence under these protocols is already covered by existing UK laws ?