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Delhi airport security staff to be trained in frisking passengers with autism

A teenager with autism turned violent at the Mumbai airport recently, prompting the CISF to team up with NGOs and train its personnel in dealing with passengers with special needs.

delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2017 08:49 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Delhi airport,Autism
CISF provides security to airports across the country and has to often deal with autistic passengers at different airports. The training will start from Delhi airport and trained personnel will in turn sensitise others posted at different airports.(HT FILE)

Security personnel at Delhi airport will be trained to be friendly to autistic passengers, who often don’t respond well to frisking or touch by strangers. The decision comes after a 15-year-old boy turned violent and scratched security personnel at Mumbai airport recently.

“We had a discussion with an NGO and they will train our frisking staff in dealing with an autistic passenger. People with autism can get agitated when touched by strangers. Security is of prime importance but at the same time, a passenger’s special needs should also be taken care of,” a CISF official said.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) provides security to airports across the country and has to often deal with autistic passengers at different airports. The training will start from Delhi airport and trained personnel will in turn sensitise others posted at different airports.

CISF director general OP Singh confirmed the move and said their objective is to provide ‘security without any inconvenience’.

“The NGO will help us with designing a training module and tell us how an autistic passenger reacts to different situations. We train our personnel in soft skills but after the Mumbai incident, we felt the need to train airport security staff in dealing with passengers with special needs too,” the official added.

On July 7, a boy tried to cross the security check at Mumbai airport. When security personnel tried to stop him, the boy turned violent and had to be lifted out of security area. In the process he scratched the security personnel, who were taking him out. “His parents informed us later that he is autistic and has extreme aversion to being touched by strangers. They also showed medical certificate and were apologetic. But, we felt our staff should be trained in dealing with such a situation. However, we need cooperation of passengers also as they will have to tell us in advance,” the official added.

CISF may set up a separate frisking booth for autistic passengers as they need more time to cooperate with security staff.

CISF often faces flak in dealing passengers with prosthetic limbs as procedures require such passengers to remove the prosthetic part for security checks. However, a committee constituted by Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has suggested alternative ways of checking and the civil aviation ministry has invited suggestions to prepare an SOP for frisking of such passengers.

The committee has suggested that if x-ray screening of the prosthetic limb is required, such passengers should be taken to a private screening point and made to sit comfortably before taking off the prosthetic limb.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 13:46 IST