Airport police units are a security police agency assigned to perform law enforcement functions at airports. They provide a wide range of law enforcement duties and responsibilities including patrol, investigation, traffic flow management, and control and response to airport emergencies. Airport police provide enhanced safety to airport employees, and to passengers. Officers can be found at security gates, throughout the terminal area, and around the airport’s perimeter.
In some cases, airport police are branches of larger general purposes agencies. "Airport Safety Officers," are cross-trained in Fire, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, and even military units. They support federal security directives and initiatives, airline security programs and passenger screening, enforce airport rules and regulations on the airfield and within secured areas, and assist with traffic and crowd control. Airport police agencies are vital components of the international aviation security system but do not, in themselves, perform all aspects of airport security.
- In Singapore, The Singapore Police Force (SPF) operates The Airport Police Division (APD). The APD functions as the law enforcement agency, responsible for the maintenance of law and order within its jurisdiction of, Singapore Changi Airport and Seletar Airport. SPF is also the Appropriate Authority for security at the airport. Hence, APD, as the executive arm of the Police within the airport, is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme. It is to protect the security, regularity and efficiency of international civil aviation in the airport and safeguard against acts of unlawful interference aimed at passengers, personnel, aircraft, airport terminals or aircraft navigation installations and equipment.
In North America
- In the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, policing of the Bermuda International Airport passed from the Bermuda Police Service to the Ministry of Transport's own Airport Security Police in 1995.
- In Mexico, many divisions of police provide airport security and customs duties. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) (Spanish: Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil) is the airport police division. It performs daily inspections and supervises airport facilities, aircraft, and aviation staff. The DGAC monitors compliance with rules and regulations, identification and elimination of acts, attitudes and conditions that are hazardous. They investigate airport accidents and incidents, and coordinate and implement the systems and safety procedures. The DGAC also coordinates its efforts with other federal authorities to ensure safety of the airport and flights. The Federal Police (PF) (Spanish: Policía Federal) act in the customs sections, as well as providing security throughout the terminal.
- The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is patrolled by the Airport Unit of the Cleveland Police Department. The officers are permanently assigned to the airport, and provide a wide range of law enforcement duties and responsibilities including patrol, investigation, traffic flow management, and control and response to airport emergencies.
- The Los Angeles Airport Police of Los Angeles, California, is the second largest airport police agency in the United States, with over 1100 personnel, including over 450 sworn officers. In addition to LAX, Airport Police members are assigned to the other airports in the Los Angeles World Airports system – Los Angeles/Ontario, Van Nuys and Los Angeles/Palmdale.
- The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD), of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) protects three major airports; Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia Airport, which handle over 80 million air passengers, over 1.1 million aircraft movements, and over 2.5 million tons of air cargo annually. Police personnel cover screening points, respond to all aircraft incidents, and aid travelers from all parts of the world. Escorting and protecting visiting dignitaries is provided for on a daily basis. The PAPD also patrols the Port Authority-owned Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. Stewart International Airport, is patrolled by the New York State Police.
The PAPD is also responsible for fire fighting and crash emergency rescue at the four airports and for all other aircraft emergency incidents.
- At Salt Lake City International Airport, the airport police are responsible for law enforcement, which includes close cooperation with various federal, state and local agencies. The department is a separate organization, exclusively serving the airport, and is not a part of The Salt Lake City Police Department, though they share some functions, such as evidence and record-keeping.
- Canadian airports were once patrolled by the RCMP, but many have been downloaded to local police forces since the 1990s:
- Toronto Pearson International Airport is patrolled mainly by Peel Regional Police Airport Divison officers, but are assisted by the RCMP's Toronto Airport Detachment.
- Ottawa Police Service Airport Policing Section provide airport police services at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
- RCMP's Halifax Stanfield International Airport Detachment provides policing at Halifax Stanfield International Airport
- RCMP Airport Detachment provides policing at Vancouver International Airport
- RCMP Airport Federal Investigation Section and Service de police de la Ville de Montréal Airport Unit provides policing at Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
In South America
- In Argentina, The Airport Security Police (PSA) (Spanish: Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria) provides public safety on airport grounds. It is a law enforcement agency created to protect and guard national public airports. The PSA protects and ensures the internal security within the airport's jurisdiction, through prevention and investigation. Preventative airport security includes planning, implementation, evaluation and or coordination of activities and operations, at the tactical and strategical level. The PSA attempts to avert the conspiracy of complex criminal acts, including drug trafficking, terrorism, smuggling and other related crimes.
- In Ireland, the Airport Police Service (Irish: Póilíní an t-Aerfoirt) is a small police force responsible for providing general policing and aviation security duties at the three state airports in Ireland: Dublin Airport, Cork Airport and Shannon Airport. Founded in 1936, they first became "Authorised Officers" in 1950.
- In the United Kingdom it is the local territorial police force's responsibility to provide armed patrols to that airport, for example the Metropolitan Police Service's Aviation Security Operational Command Unit, with responsibility for London Heathrow Airport and London City.
- In Switzerland, The International Security Police: Airport Unit (PSI) (French: Police de la Sécurité Internationale: Unité Aéroport) performs various tasks to provide security to the airport site and safety to airport buildings. This includes, traffic management for vehicles travelling and parking on airport territory, patrol of the airport’s runways, tarmacs, and parked aircraft. Foot patrols are used to ensure the safety of airport buildings in public transit areas, and airline offices to maintain order and public safety. PSI patrols ensure the closure of areas at risk in case of parcel bombs or suspect. The unit also controls migration, through the verification of travel documents and identity documents and can issue temporary emergency passports.
|Common battenburg markings
used by European airport emergency services
|Airport Police||Yellow / Blue|
|Airport Fire and Rescue service||Yellow / Red|
Airport Police Departments are represented in the United States by a membership organization called ALEAN or the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network.
- "Security Information". Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
- "CMPD takes over security at Charlotte Douglas International Airport". Charlotte Observer.
- "SPF Overview-Airport Police Division". Singapore Police Force.
- "Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil Comandancia General (DGAC)". Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México.
- "Policía Federal(PF)". Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México.
- "Los Angeles Airport Police". Wikipedia.
- Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department#Airports
- "Salt Lake City International Airport-Police". Salt Lake City International Airport.
- "Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria". Ministerio de Seguridad.
- Airport Police (Ireland)
- "Police de la Sécurité Internationale: Unité aéroport". Ecusson de l'Etat de Genève.
- Media related to Airport police at Wikimedia Commons