Recently, both passengers and airport staff have had to put up with a lot: Strike-related flight cancellations, delays and long queues have strained the nerves of everyone involved. Ahead of this, the covid related tensions had already created potential for escalation at the airports and posed a safety risk for staff and passengers alike.
Added to this:
Due to the pandemic, there is a growing shortage of skilled workers at airports: between 2019 and 2021, the number of aviation employees has fallen by 4%. According to the german trade union Verdi, there is a shortage of 20% of ground staff and, in addition, there is a high rate of sick leave — caused, among other things, by the increase in psychological and physical violence. This is because, especially during vacation periods, a high travel demand meets few personnel, which provides a breeding ground for conflicts and escalations. Disrespectful behavior, threats and physical assaults against staff are therefore becoming more frequent at airports. Frustration and anger turn into violence: flight cancellations, delays, invalid PCR test certificates or intoxicated passengers are just a few examples of why conflicts are triggered.
The shortage of ground personnel, who among other things enforce the strict security measures at the airport, also is accompanied by federal police officers specializing in “aviation security” as well as aviation security assistants employed by private security companies, who in some cases take over the duties of the federal police (passenger and baggage screening). The security assistants are particularly vulnerable to attacks by aggressors.
More protection needed for employees at Airports
To ensure that violent attacks are prevented in the first place, a wide-ranging security network has been set up at transport locations over the years. Video surveillance in places with large crowds and the avoidance of “dark corners” by providing plenty of light are just a few examples.
Body-Cams can also be part of this package of measures. It has long been proven that Body-Cams can be used at train stations, on local public transport or by municipal law enforcement agencies: Wearing body cams deters aggressors from further escalating a conflict. What works well at other transportation and traffic centers is now also making the day-to-day work of airport staff easier.
Why should Body-Cams be used at airports?
Body-Cams are non-violent deployment tools for all employees in the security sector with many functions and advantages:
De-escalation instead of pure documentation: In the last of three de-escalation levels, body cams can not only record conflict situations, but are additionally intended to ensure that video recording does not have to occur in the first place. The mere presence of a Body-Cam on the uniform of a security employee at the airport is already intended to deter aggressors and prompt them to refrain from a planned assault — for example, in the case of conflicts at baggage checks.
To further de-escalate a conflictual situation, the security personnel can also activate the front display of the Body-Cam so that the opponent is reflected in the display — the inappropriate behavior is held up to the troublemaker like a mirror. Only if the situation gets out of hand, the Body-Cam recording will be started (after prior notification). For more information on the three de-escalation levels of Body-Cams, click here: Body-Cams: A non-violent means of de-escalation? (netco.de)
Employee protection: Body-cams can provide an even safer environment at Airports. Due to the proven de-escalating and deterrent effect of the Body-Cam, there are fewer assaults or workplace accidents. As a result, staff experience an increased sense of security in their day-to-day work, psychological stress decreases and the sickness rate is also reduced.
Coping with the high staff shortage and staff absences: If an airport security employee is equipped with a Body-Cam, the Body-Cam provides the employee with protection and evidence at the same time, therefore less security personnel can be deployed in certain situations.
Criminal prosecution and court accountability: False accusations are often made against the staff. Body-cam recordings provide tangible evidence as an “objective third party”. The Body-Cam recordings are also manipulation-proof and can therefore be used in court.
Data protection compliance: Body-cams are only used for a specific purpose, so that there is no (continuous) filming of uninvolved third parties. In addition, the video material cannot be manipulated. It is sent directly to a server and can only be viewed by a few authorized persons. If there is no criminal offense, videos are irreversibly deleted within a short time.
To ensure that the use of a Body-Cam has the desired de-escalating effect, security personnel are trained in its correct use beforehand, for example as part of a comprehensive de-escalation training course. In this context, the legal aspects of Body-Cam use are also addressed.
Private security companies that want to try out a complete body-cam solution can also rent the body cameras including accessories on a trial basis. We have compiled further information and a rental calculator here: Contact Body-Cam — NetCo Professional Services GmbH