Saturday, October 14, 2017

CISF amends guidelines to avoid humiliating security checks at Airports for people with disabilities

No X-ray screening for disabled at airports  (Times of India) 

Jasjeev Gandhiok | TNN | Updated: Oct 14, 2017, 

NEW DELHI: People with disabilities won't have to face lengthy and "humiliating" security checks at airports anymore, with the Central Industrial Security Force issuing guidelines on how to scan passengers on wheelchairs and those wearing prosthetics. While earlier, PWDs were required to go through an X-ray screening, now checking with a hand-held explosive trace detector (ETD) device will suffice. Passengers will be asked to go through an X-ray screening only if there is "sufficient doubt".

In addition, they won't have to remove their prosthetic limbs for security check. The decision came after a meeting was held on Wednesday between officials of CISF, the airport sector, BCAS and the ministry of civil aviation and representatives of NGOs working for PWD rights.

Earlier, a committee had been constituted to review the security-check process based on BCAS provisions to make it more "friendly" for PWDs. Officials said standard operating procedures would soon be formulated, which will be used across all 59 airports under CISF.

"All issues were addressed at the meeting, following which it was decided to tweak the system of frisking of such passengers. Now, a visual inspection and an ETD hand-held device scanning will suffice while wheelchair-bound passengers will also get relief," said O P Singh, CISF DG.

CISF officials said the screening officer would also be required to make an entry into a register each time he subjected a PWD passenger to an X-ray screening, stating the reason for doing so. "We are looking at any technological aid that can further make this process easier. CISF personnel at all 59 airports will now be trained and sensitized according to the new procedures," Singh added.

Disability rights activists welcomed the move, saying it was long overdue. "It's humiliating to get off the wheelchair and remove prosthetics for scanning. More people will look forward to flying again," said Javed Abidi, director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People.

Suvarna Raj, a wheelchair-bound para-athlete who has often faced inconvenience at airports, said the move would lead to greater accountability.

Source: Times of India 



CISF: Disabled no longer have to remove prosthetics for airport security  (DNA India) 

In a major relief to the disabled, the CISF will no longer carry out the "humiliating" airport security drill of asking people with disabilities (PWDs) to remove their prosthetics or make them get up from their wheelchair for screening at the airports. The announcement was made by the CISF Director General OP Singh.

The DG said that the Central Industrial Security Force will now use explosive trace detectors (ETDs) and visual profiling to meet the security needs. The Force will also conduct a country-wide survey to find out how many such passengers travel by air each day.

"The aim is to ensure that such passengers do not face any humiliation or uneasiness when they travel through Indian airports. We have seen numerous complaints in this regard. What we have decided now is to use explosive trace detectors and the visual profiling method of the passenger and his prosthetic tool or wheelchair rather than asking them to take out everything," Singh said.

The current procedure is to ask passengers to take off their prosthetics before boarding a flight and ask to get up from those on a wheelchair.

"We are soon going to issue a fresh list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to usher the new regime in a uniform manner," the DG said.

"We will also conduct a survey at all the 59 airports that we guard to see how many such PWD passengers we receive on an average. That will give us a fair idea as to how to go about implementing the new SOPs."

A senior official in the CISF airport sector said they have estimated that about eight-10 such passengers use Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) every day, the busiest airport in the country.

"Passengers with prosthetics will be asked to remove them only under compelling circumstances which will be purely security concerns. The same procedure will be adopted for wheelchair-bound passengers and those with other disabilities," the official said.

The director general added that CISF was also looking at "simplifying the security procedures for passengers with orthopaedic issues."

In case of prosthetics with foam padding, he said, CISF personnel will use new SOPs but can seek its removal, keeping in mind security concerns.

Disability rights activist Javed Abidi, who attended a recent meeting with the CISF authorities on the subject, raised his concerns during a recent conversation.

"I have travelled across the globe for so many years now but only at an Indian airport do I have to get down from my wheelchair so that the security personnel on duty can put it inside a large X-Ray machine to check it against explosives and other hazardous material that can be a threat to the aircraft or aviation security," Abidi, the convener of the Disabled Rights Group, said.

It is very difficult and embarrassing, he said, for people who have prosthetic or artificial limbs to take out the entire part in full public view inside an airport.

The CISF is the central paramilitary force tasked with guarding 59 civil airports in the country.

Source: DNA India


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