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17 Dec, 2016

Australian aviation security warns of tough penalties for unruly behaviour over holiday season

Canberra, 12 December 2016  (AFP media release) – The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will not be tolerating inappropriate and offensive behaviour at Australia’s airports these holidays.

The AFP is the primary law enforcement agency at the nine major Australian airports, and too often, must respond to incidents of violent or disorderly behaviour on board aircraft or in the airport.

In the 2015-2016 financial year, the AFP charged:

  • 76 people with offences relating to offensive behaviour at an airport or on a plane, including drunkenness or violent behaviour,
  • Eight people after they failed to comply with directions from airport or airline staff, and
  • 10 people for making threatening or false statements at an airport, such as false claims of carrying explosives.

Historically, reports indicate these incidents rise over the busy travel periods in December and January.

Offensive behaviour is unacceptable in any setting and the AFP will not tolerate it at Australia’s airports.

When travelling through the airport and when on a plane, members of the public are bound by Australian law. Where substantive offences are revealed, the AFP will take action against any person who breaches these laws.

In addition to police action, airlines are within their rights to impose their own charges, bans or recover the significant costs associated with any flight diversions due to this behaviour.

The AFP will also charge anyone found to be carrying a prohibited weapon through the airport.

The AFP seized 2,355 prohibited weapons across the nine major airports – Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – in the 2015-2016 financial year.

AFP Assistant Commissioner David Sharpe, National Manager Protection Operations, said that the AFP will be working closely with our national partners to ensure the public arrive at their destinations safely, but will not excuse violent or offensive behaviour, regardless of your holiday destination.

“Airport staff, pilots and the cabin crew are there to make sure your journey is an enjoyable one. It is disappointing that they have to restrain violent passengers, and even be abused or assaulted when trying to do their jobs,” Assistant Commissioner Sharpe said.

“While the high number of weapon seizures demonstrates the effectiveness of Australian airport security screening processes, it also demonstrates the incorrect assumptions that these items are not dangerous or illegal. Prohibited weapons, including credit card knives, have no place in the airport.”

“Police will take action against any unruly behaviour or prohibited items seized at the airports so don’t ruin your or your family’s holiday before it even begins.”