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Aviation Security UK




In this ever changing environment, political instability is plain to see in almost every region of the world, that includes airspace..

This political instability can have a knock on effect for travellers, businessmen and members of government or non-government agencies.

With that, the SECURITY WEBSITE is pleased to bring you an up to date Aviation Security advice section. This information is vital for your piece of mind and for your travel planning. Forewarned is Forearmed.

Our information is drawn from the UK Department for Transport who are the World leaders in Travel Security Information.

Below you will find information pertaining to Aviation Security and advice 



Press Office

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

August 10, 2006

(202) 282-8010

Raised Threat Levels:

The U.S. threat level is raised to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating in the United States, including international flights. Flights from the United States to the United Kingdom are also Orange.

Increased Aviation Screening Procedures:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing a series of security measures, some visible and some not visible, to ensure the security of the traveling public and the nation's transportation system.

Update to published information: 2 January 2008


 Volcanic ash - travel update


From 7 January 2008 the limit of one item of hand baggage per person will no longer apply at certain airports. However, airlines will still apply their own operational policies on the number and size of hand baggage which may be taken in to the aircraft cabin.

The airports where these rules are being relaxed are: Aberdeen, Benbecula, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heathrow, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, London City, Manchester, Plymouth, Prestwick, Southampton, Southend, Stansted, Stornaway, Sumburgh, and Wick.

Check the most recently published baggage arrangement guidelines to see what has changed.


For all flights departing from a UK airport from Monday 6 November 2006 onwards

 Each passenger is now restricted to carrying only one item through the airport search point



Passengers are advised to pack any liquids they do not need on the aircraft into their hold baggage. If you do have liquids you will need on the flight, please be aware that there are now restrictions on the quantity of liquids that can be taken through:

 passengers may carry small quantities of liquids, but only within separate containers, each of which must have a capacity not greater than 100ml

 containers with a capacity greater than 100ml are not allowed, even if they are only partially full

 these containers must be brought to the airport contained in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which itself must not exceed 1 litre in capacity (approximately 20cms x 20cms)

 the contents of your plastic bag must fit comfortably inside it, so that it can be sealed

 only one of these bags, per passenger, is allowed

 the bag must be presented for examination and x-ray at the airport security poin

 liquids that cannot be placed inside the re-sealable bag must be packed into the hold luggage and checked in

 liquids of any amount can still be carried in luggage checked into the aircraft hold  

Remember that 'liquids' includes:

 all drinks, including water, soup, syrups  

 creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, cosmetics, including mascara and lipsticks etc

 sprays and pressurised containers, including shaving foam and sprays


 pastes, including toothpastes

 contact lens solution  

 gels, including hair and shower gel  

 any other solutions and items of similar consistency


Medicines and baby food

Passengers are allowed to take essential medicines sufficient for the trip. Amounts under 100mls should be placed in a re-sealable transparent plastic bag, as with other liquids. If your medication pack exceeds 100mls, it should be presented at security for x-ray inspection. There is no limit on the amount, however you may be asked to verify the liquid by tasting it, or to provide verification for the product, such as a doctor's letter.


Cabin baggage - size restrictions and additional items allowed

Each passenger is now restricted to carrying only one item through the airport search point, with a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Be aware that this is the maximum size allowed and that some airlines may have their own size restrictions - you can contact the airline you are travelling with for further information. Please also note that you must be able to fit your re-sealable bag into your cabin baggage.

Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs are permitted but will be security screened.


Handbags / briefcases / laptops / electrical items

You must be able to fit your handbag or briefcase into your single item of cabin baggage: these are no longer allowed as additional, separate bags.

Laptops and other large electrical items (for example, a large hairdryer) will still have to be removed from cabin baggage and screened separately, but smaller items, including mobile phones, games consoles and MP3 players can be left in your bag for screening. A laptop bag will be regarded as your one item that is allowed in the cabin.


Outsize items

All items of luggage which do not fit in the permitted cabin baggage size (maximum length of 56 cm, width of 45 cm and depth of 25 cm) must be checked in to be placed in the aircraft hold. Musical instruments will, as an exception, be allowed as a second item of cabin baggage, but will need to be screened and passengers should check with their airlines if special arrangements (for example, purchasing an extra seat) for these large instruments will be required.


   Visit the British Airport Authority website Opens new window


Preparing for your journey

Passengers are asked to bear in mind the following advice to help make their passage through the airport as efficient and comfortable as possible.

Before you arrive at the airport

 limit quantities to what you are likely to need in the cabin during the flight

 wherever possible, put liquids in hold baggage

 prepare the re-sealable bag of liquids before arriving at the airport

 check any queries you have with your airport or airline before travelling to the airport


At the security point:

  be ready to hand over your re-sealable bag of liquids for screening as you approach the security check point - it will be screened at the same time as your cabin luggage

 all coats and jackets will have to be removed ready to be screened and metal items will be placed in plastic trays and scanned separately

 if you are carrying a laptop or any other large electrical item within your cabin luggage, then please have it ready for separate screening as you approach the security check

Duty free and departure lounge purchases:

 you may take on board liquid items of any size that are bought after the security check in the departure lounge (sometimes referred to as 'airside')

 most duty free or similar purchases will be given to you in a special sealed bag - do not open this bag until you have reached your final destination

 you should also retain your receipt throughout your journey, as you will be required to show it at all transfer points

 you are also allowed to buy food and drink items in the departure lounge for consumption onboard

 please note that restrictions apply to duty free purchases made on return journeys where passengers change flights at an EU airport; these are explained in more detail in the next section


These are the requirements set down by the Department for Transport. Airlines and airports may have additional measures in place, so you are strongly advised to check the website of your carrier or airport before travelling.


Returning to or via the UK

Travelling from an airport in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland


The arrangements outlined above will apply, except that larger cabin bags will be permitted on a transitional basis until April 2007.

 The member states of the European Union are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


Special information for transit passengers

If your journey involves changing flights at any EU airport, special restrictions apply. You may only take liquid items (for example duty free) through the security check point at your connecting airport if:

  they conform to the requirements for passengers departing from EU airports as set out above; or

 they have been bought airside at another EU airport, or on board an aircraft operated by an EU carrier - you will need to show a receipt to demonstrate this

Liquid items in excess of 100ml purchased from other airports or on board other airlines may only be carried as hold baggage on the connecting flight.

 The Department for Transport has approved new security arrangements at a number of airports in the UK.

 This means that at these airports the restriction previously imposed - limiting hand baggage to one item per person - will no longer apply, with effect from 7 January 2008. However, airlines apply their own operational policies governing the number of items of hand baggage which may be taken in to the aircraft cabin.


Before departing it is strongly recommended that you check with your airline on the cabin baggage arrangements for your particular journey


Airports where the one bag restriction no longer applies are:















 London City













  Other Useful Tips and Information


Air travel hand baggage rules


What you can and can't take on board under the current security rules


In-flight safety


A guide to looking after your health and safety when travelling by plane


What to expect at the airport

 When to get there, basic information on security, baggage and airside shopping, plus returning to the UK


UK flight services


An overview of UK airports, buying tickets and your rights as a passenger


Dangerous and restricted items: what you cannot take on board an aircraft

 A list of dangerous and restricted items that you cannot take in your hold and hand baggage


Advance registration before you travel


How to provide your Advance Passenger Information (API) before you travel


Making a complaint about air services


How to complain about airports, airlines, tour operators and travel agents


Air travel and the environment (environment and greener living section)


Decisions you can make to reduce the adverse environmental impact of air travel


Getting there (disabled people section)


Tips and advice on foreign travel for disabled people



Safety on the Street

 Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home.  Be especially cautious in (or avoid) areas where you may be more easily victimized.  These include crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, market places, festivals and crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.

Try not to travel alone at night.

Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.

Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.

Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.

Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer t be your guide or sell you something at bargain prices.

Beware of pickpockets.  They often have an accomplice who will:

jostle you,

ask you for directions or the time,

point to something spilled on your clothing,

or distract you by creating a disturbance.

Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.

Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers.

Try to seem purposeful when you move about.  Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going.  Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.

Know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change or token on hand.

Learn a few phrases in the local language or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.

Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your hotel, and the nearest U.S.  embassy or consulate.

If you are confronted, don't fight back -- give up your valuables.

Safety in Your Hotel

Keep your hotel door locked at all times.  Meet visitors in the lobby.

Do not leave money and other valuables in your hotel room while you are out.  Use the hotel safe.

If you are out late at night, let someone know when you expect to return.

If you are alone, do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious-looking person inside.

Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room.  Know how to report a fire, and be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located.  (Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit; this could be a lifesaver if you have to crawl through a smoke-filled corridor.)


 Safety on Public Transportation

If a country has a pattern of tourists being targeted by criminals on public transport, that information is mentioned in the Country Specific Information in the section about crime.

Taxis. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings.  Beware of unmarked cabs.

Trains. Well-organized, systematic robbery of passengers on trains along popular tourists routes is a problem.  It is more common at night and especially on overnight trains.

If you see your way being blocked by a stranger and another person is very close to you from behind, move away.  This can happen in the corridor of the train or on the platform or station.

Do not accept food or drink from strangers.  Criminals have been known to drug food or drink offered to passengers.  Criminals may also spray sleeping gas in train compartments.  Where possible, lock your compartment.  If it cannot be locked securely, take turns sleeping in shifts with your traveling companions.  If that is not possible, stay awake.  If you must sleep unprotected, tie down your luggage and secure your valuables to the extent possible.

Do not be afraid to alert authorities if you feel threatened in any way.  Extra police are often assigned to ride trains on routes where crime is a serious problem.

Buses. The same type of criminal activity found on trains can be found on public buses on popular tourist routes.  For example, tourists have been drugged and robbed while sleeping on buses or in bus stations.  In some countries, whole busloads of passengers have been held up and robbed by gangs of bandits.


Safety When You Drive

When you rent a car, choose a type that is commonly available locally.  Where possible, ask that markings that identify it as a rental car be removed.  Make certain it is in good repair.  If available, choose a car with universal door locks and power windows, features that give the driver better control of access.  An air conditioner, when available, is also a safety feature, allowing you to drive with windows closed.  Thieves can and do snatch purses through open windows of moving cars.

Keep car doors locked at all times.  Wear seat belts.

As much as possible, avoid driving at night.

Don't leave valuables in the car.  If you must carry things with you, keep them out of sight locked in the trunk, and then take them with you when you leave the car.

Don't park your car on the street overnight.  If the hotel or municipality does not have a parking garage or other secure area, select a well-lit area.

Never pick up hitchhikers.

Don't get out of the car if there are suspicious looking individuals nearby.  Drive away.


 Patterns of Crime Against Motorists

In many places frequented by tourists, including areas of southern Europe, victimization of motorists has been refined to an art.  Where it is a problem, U.K.  embassies are aware of it and consular officers try to work with local authorities to warn the public about the dangers.  In some locations, these efforts at public awareness have paid off, reducing the frequency of incidents.  You may also wish to ask your rental car agency for advice on avoiding robbery while visiting tourist destinations

Carjackers and thieves operate at gas stations, parking lots, in city traffic and along the highway.  Be suspicious of anyone who hails you or tries to get your attention when you are in or near your car.

Criminals use ingenious ploys.  They may pose as good Samaritans, offering help for tires that they claim are flat or that they have made flat.  Or they may flag down a motorist, ask for assistance, and then steal the rescuer's luggage or car.  Usually they work in groups, one person carrying on the pretense while the others rob you.

Other criminals get your attention with abuse, either trying to drive you off the road, or causing an "accident" by rear-ending you.

In some urban areas, thieves don't waste time on ploys, they simply smash car windows at traffic lights, grab your valuables or your car and get away.  In cities around the world, "defensive driving" has come to mean more than avoiding auto accidents; it means keeping an eye out for potentially criminal pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders.


How to Handle Money Safely

To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, change your travelers checks only as you need currency.  Countersign travelers checks only in front of the person who will cash them.

Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.  Make sure your credit card is returned to you after each transaction.

Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money, buy airline tickets or purchase souvenirs.  Do not change money on the black market.

If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police.  Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims and as an explanation of your plight.

After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of:

travelers' checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company

credit cards to the issuing company

airline tickets to the airline or travel agent

passport to the nearest U.K. embassy or consulate


How to Avoid Legal Difficulties

When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and are under its jurisdiction.  You can be arrested overseas for actions that may be either legal or considered minor infractions in the United KIngdom.  Familiarize yourself with legal expectations in the countries you will visit.  Country Specific Information include information on unusual patterns of arrests in particular countries, as appropriate.

Some of the offenses for which U.K.  citizens have been arrested abroad are


Drug Violations

U.K.  citizens have been incarcerated abroad are held on drug charges.  Some countries do not distinguish between possession and trafficking, and many have mandatory sentences - even for possession of a small amount of marijuana or cocaine.  A number of Britons have been arrested for possessing prescription drugs, particularly tranquilizers and amphetamines, that they purchased legally elsewhere.  Other U.K.  citizens have been arrested for purchasing prescription drugs abroad in quantities that local authorities suspected were for commercial use.  If in doubt about foreign drug laws, ask local authorities or the nearest U.K.  embassy or consulate.



In many countries you can be detained for photographing security-related institutions, such things as police and military installations, government buildings, border areas and transportation facilities.  If you are in doubt, ask permission before taking photographs.


Purchasing Antiques

Americans have been arrested for purchasing souvenirs that were, or looked like, antiques and which local customs authorities believed were national treasures.  This is especially true in Turkey, Egypt and Mexico .  Familiarize yourself with any local regulations of antiques.  In countries with strict control of antiques, document your purchases as reproductions if that is the case, or if they are authentic, secure the necessary export permit (often from the national museum).   It is a good idea to inquire about exporting these items before you purchase them.



Terrorist acts occur unpredictably, making it impossible to protect yourself absolutely.  The first and best protection is to avoid travel to areas where there has been a persistent record of terrorist attacks or kidnappings.

Most terrorist attacks are the result of careful planning.  Just as a car thief will first be attracted to an unlocked car with the key in the ignition, terrorists are looking for the most accessible targets.  The chances that a tourist, traveling with an unpublished program or itinerary, would be the victim of terrorism are slight.  In addition, many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, may not be looking for American targets.  Nevertheless, the following pointers may help you avoid becoming a target of opportunity.  They should be considered as adjuncts to the tips listed in the previous sections on how to protect yourself against the far greater likelihood of being a victim of crime.  These precautions may provide some degree of protection, and can serve as practical and psychological deterrents to would-be terrorists.

Schedule direct flights if possible and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas.

Be cautious about what you discuss with strangers or what others may overhear.

Try to minimize the time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area.  Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas.  Upon arrival, leave the airport as soon as possible.

As much as possible, avoid luggage tags, dress and behavior that may identify you as an American.

Keep an eye out for abandoned packages or briefcases, or other suspicious items.  Report them to airport authorities and leave the area promptly.

Avoid obvious terrorist targets such as places where Americans and Westerners are known to congregate.


 Travel to High-Risk Areas 

If you must travel in an area where there has been a history of terrorist attacks or kidnappings, make it a habit to:

Discuss with your family what they would do in the event of an emergency.  Make sure your affairs are in order before leaving home.

Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States .

Remain friendly but be cautious about discussing personal matters or your itinerary.

Leave no personal or business papers in your hotel room.

Watch for people following you or "loiterers" observing your comings and goings.

Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals.   Formulate a plan of action for what you will do if a bomb explodes or there is gunfire nearby.

Let someone else know what your travel plans are.  Keep them informed if you change your plans.

Report any suspicious activity to local police, and the nearest U.K.  embassy or consulate.

Select your own taxicabs at random.  Don't take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi.  Compare the face of the driver with the one on his or her posted license.

If possible, travel with others.

Be sure of the identity of visitors before opening the door of your hotel room.  Don't meet strangers at your hotel room, or at unknown or remote locations.


Refuse unexpected packages.

Check for loose wires or other suspicious activity around your car.

Be sure your vehicle is in good operating condition.

Drive with car windows closed in crowded streets.  Bombs can be thrown through open windows.

If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible.  Don't move until you are sure the danger has passed.  Do not attempt to help rescuers and do not pick up a weapon.  If possible, shield yourself behind a solid object.  If you must move, crawl on your stomach.



Hijacking/Hostage Situations

While every hostage situation is different, there are some general considerations to keep in mind.

The U.K.  Government's policy is firm:  we do not make concessions to terrorists.  When British Citizens are abducted overseas, we look to the host government to exercise its responsibility under international law to protect all persons within its territories and to bring about the safe release of hostages.  We work closely with these governments from the outset of a hostage-taking incident to ensure that our citizens and other victims are released as quickly and safely as possible.

At the outset of a terrorist incident, the terrorists typically are tense, high-strung and may behave irrationally.  It is extremely important that you remain calm and alert and manage your own behavior.

Avoid resistance and sudden or threatening movements.  Do not struggle or try to escape unless you are certain of being successful.  Don't try to be a hero, endangering yourself and others.

Consciously put yourself in a mode of passive cooperation.  Talk normally.  Do not complain, avoid belligerency, and comply with all orders and instructions.

If questioned, keep your answers short.  Don't volunteer information or make unnecessary overtures.

Make a concerted effort to relax.  Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for the possibility of a long ordeal.

Try to remain inconspicuous, avoid direct eye contact and the appearance of observing your captors' actions.

Avoid alcoholic beverages.  Eat what they give you, even if it does not look or taste appetizing, but keep consumption of food and drink at a moderate level.  A loss of appetite and weight is normal.

If you are involved in a lengthier, drawn-out situation, try to establish a rapport with your captors, avoiding political discussions or other confrontational subjects.

Establish a daily program of mental and physical activity.

Think positively.  Avoid a sense of despair.  Rely on your inner resources.  Remember that you are a valuable commodity to your captors.  It is important to them to keep you alive and well.



The Consular Section can provide updated information on the security situation in a country.

If you are ill or injured, contact the nearest U.K.  embassy or consulate for a list of local physicians and medical facilities.  If you request, consular officers will help you contact family or friends.  If necessary, a consul can assist in the transfer of funds from family or friends in the United Kingdom.  Payment of hospital and other medical expenses is your responsibility.

Should you find yourself in legal difficulty, contact a consular officer immediately.  Consular officers cannot serve as attorneys, give legal advice, or get you out of jail.  .  If you are arrested, consular officials will visit you, advise you of your rights under local laws, provide a list of local attorneys who speak English and who may have had experience in representing U.K.  citizens, and ensure that you are held under humane conditions and are treated fairly under local law.  A consular officer will contact your family or friends if you desire.  When necessary, consuls can transfer money from home for you and will try to get relief for you, including food and clothing in countries where this is a problem.  If you are detained, remember that under international treaties and customary international law, you have the right to talk to the U.K.  consul.  If you are denied this right, be politely persistent.  Try to have someone get in touch for you.



Resources for UK Citizen Crime Victims

When a U.K.  citizen becomes the victim of a crime overseas he or she may suffer physical, emotional, or financial injuries.  The emotional impact of the crime may be intensified if the victim is in unfamiliar surroundings, far away from sources of comfort and support, and not fluent in the local language or knowledgeable about local laws and customs.  Consuls and consular agents can provide assistance to U.K.  citizen crime victims

If you become the victim of a crime overseas, contact the nearest U.K.  embassy, consulate, or consular agency for assistance.  Also contact local police to report the incident and obtain immediate help with safety concerns.

While consular officials cannot investigate a crime, provide legal advice, represent you in court, serve as official interpreters or translators, or pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.K.  citizens, they can assist crime victims in many other ways.  Consular personnel overseas are familiar with local government agencies and resources in the countries in which they are located, and they can help you::

replace a stolen passport
contact family, friends, or employers
obtain appropriate medical care
address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime
obtain general information about the local criminal justice process and information about your case
obtain information about local resources to assist victims, including foreign crime victim compensation programs
obtain a list of local attorneys who speak English


U.K. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.K. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.K. citizens.  Britons abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.K. Embassy or Consulate should an emergency arise.

Air travel hand baggage rules There are increased security measures in place at all UK airports, with strict rules on what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage. It is important to pack with this in mind to avoid unnecessary delays at airport security.
Size and type of hand baggage allowed.

check with your airline Hand baggage is luggage that you carry on the plane with you, while hold baggage is luggage that you check-in.

The Department for Transport has set the maximum size for an item of hand baggage as 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including wheels, handles and external pockets. However, some airlines may only allow smaller bags, so check with them first.

Airlines may also have their own rules regarding the number of bags you are allowed to take on the aircraft. It is best to contact them if you have any questions.

Any item of hand baggage larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin. It must be checked in as hold baggage, with the exception of musical instruments.


Please check out the Security Website Travel Alerts section HERE for even more updates that may affect YOU.

Please remember we also have a Travel Security Advice section here at the SECURITY WEBSITE.....

Further information can be checked at the Department for Transports Home Website HERE


The SW Team.........