The attacker has a single target, single objective. The defender has so much to protect. Take the country for example. The Government has to protect its citizens, assets and a whole lot of other things. It also has to take measures against multiple sources of attack like a bomb, or a machine gun or nerve gas/nuclear weapons. It is a one against many situation and you cannot cover all your bases.
The point I'm trying to get at is this : Whatever checks exist, need to carried out properly and completely.
So far in 2005, I've seen 2 instances where the security checks have left me completely baffled on whether or not the checks exist to actually help curb acts of terrorism/violence. The first one was Aero India 2005, where there were TWO levels of checks, one by the Air Force and another by the Police (I'm guess as...I'm not sure. They weren't in uniform) and they didn't do a good job. The second instance was Tirupati, where all vehicles are now diverted to a "Security Checkpoint" before you can actually go up the hill. This check is the biggest farce I've seen so far. Cops laze around aimlessly, don't bother to even look inside...ask you to open the boot and shut it, then give you a security clearance slip, which is presented at the toll gate on the way upto Tirumala. Duh. Here are a few points that I felt sucked the most...and needs immediate addressing.
- The concept of "flashing your camera once means it can't be anything else but a camera" purely sucks. The first time I saw that was at the India Vs Australia one dayer in Bangalore a couple of years back. The next was Aero India 2005. That said, I don't how exactly you can check a camera to make sure it is a camera and nothing else.
- Security at AI 2005 did not frisk properly. In fact they didn't frisk at all. What they did can be called as "checking pockets". My friend was wearing cargoes with all the stuff in the pockets near his knees and only his usual pockets were checked. That's very mechanical. He had tons of stuff (nothing illegal) but could have easily got in.
- Metal Detectors are never used properly. This goes for both AI 2005 and Tirupati where there are huge metal detectors and all turned off!!!
- If at all the detectors are on and they scream, not enough is done to check the cause of the alarm. I was carrying so much metallic stuff (About 6 keys on a long keychain + car keys) into AI 2005, that the guy asked me what it was. I told him it was just keys and a mobile and he simply didn't bother to check what I told him.
- They did have X-Ray machines in Tirupati and all bags are scanned, but the operator of the machine is also responsible for the "safe-keeping" of mobiles, so half the time, he's busy doing that and the other guard is busy toying around that the time the actually look at the X-Ray image is minimal.
- I may be wrong, correct me if I am. I never saw women police at the entrance of AI 2005. That means, no one was around to check/frisk the ladies coming into the show?
- I was expecting some serious checking of cars and vehicles in Tirupati. Nothing happened. Not even an "under the car with a mirror check" which is the least thing to be done when checking for bombs. Geez. And they don't get inside the car and check either. No one is going to keep something that's not supposed to be there in the boot. Duh.
- On a slightly positive note, the frisking at Tirupati was proper. Although they didn't ask us to remove stuff like wallets, the officer took his time and did a pretty good job at it.
Something needs to be done about this. It is very evident that the "Security checks" are nothing but a mechanical procedure that if done the same way it is now, will NOT help prevent an attack of any sort. I remember the checks at the Madras International Airport that used to be amazingly thorough. Even when I was a kid, they always used to confirm that it was the belt buckle that set off the metal detector and nothing else. That's the key. Confirm the source of the alarm. They used to run the hand held detectors all over your body to ensure you had nothing that wasn't supposed to be there. Wallets used to be checked as well. jace mentions here that Airport checks in Dec and Jan sucked. That is bad. Really bad.
These checks exist for a good reason. When they're not performed as required, they lose their purpose. I really don't see the situation improving until something happens. Then everyone goes on high alert...and after a while its back to Square 1. Duh.