AUSTRALIAN Federal Police have launched a new initiative at Gold Coast Airport, designed to make passengers the eyes and ears of the terminal.
The program started at the airport on Tuesday and is part of a scheme covering the 10 largest airports in Australia.
It was developed by the Federal Department of Transport in partnership with the AFP as part of the government's Preventative Security Regime and is based on the well-known Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
The program encourages people who work at or travel through airports to report suspicious behaviour to authorities by calling 131 AFP (131 237).
AFP Gold Coast Airport Police Commander Roger Brown (pictured above) said the Airport Watch program would benefit all airport stakeholders through improved risk treatment, increased awareness, improved intelligence and more effective deployment of AFP resources.
Commander Brown said the police response was only as good as the information it received from all members of the airport community and travelling public.
"The initiative will be rolled out at all the 10 major airports in Australia and will only strengthen our relationships with all Gold Coast Airport stakeholders."
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan (pictured below) said the program would be well-supported by the airport community.
"As a whole, the airport community has an important role to play in helping to reduce the likelihood of criminal activity onsite and Airport Watch is a practical way of encouraging that awareness.
"Airport Watch is a great program that is set to enhance the ongoing work of AFP officers based at Gold Coast Airport."
The Airport Watch call to action is "See it, Hear it, Report it" and encourages members of the aviation community to contact the AFP if they see something unusual or notice any suspicious behaviour or hear a threatening or unusual conversation.
This includes suspicious behaviour of work colleagues and baggage or bins which appear abandoned.
Airport Watch complements the AFP's existing capabilities which include community policing and counter-terrorist first response capability, air security officers, joint intelligence teams and joint investigative teams, bomb appraisal officers and firearms and explosive detection canines.
"We commend AFP and the Office of Transport Security on the development of this sound initiative," Mr Donovan said.
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