Airport Security Police (Bermuda)

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Airport Security Police
Airport Security Police patch.jpg
Logo of the Airport Security Police
Agency overview
Formed 1995
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Area of Bermuda International Airport, British Overseas Territories
Size 536 acres (2.17 km2)
Population No residential population
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Bermuda International Airport
Sworn members 20
Stations 1
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The 'Airport Security Police' is the police force of the Bermuda International Airport.

History of the Bermuda International Airport[edit]

Prior to 1995, the airfield was a US Naval Air Station, NAS Bermuda. Following an ABC News investigative report by Sam Donaldson,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] which scandalised it as the 'Club Med of the US Navy', NAS Bermuda, and the other US Naval facilities in Bermuda, were slated for rapid closure. The west end of the airfield had originally been operated by RAF Transport Command, during the Second World War. Following the War, all RAF forces in Bermuda were withdrawn, but the RAF commander, Wing Commander Mo Ware, remained, on loan to the local government, and oversaw the conversion of the RAF facilities into a Civil Air Terminal (the rest of the airfield, Kindley Field, was, at that time, operated by the US Army Air Forces). By 1945, flying boats were rapidly being replaced as airliners by landplanes, and civil airlines began using the US Army's runway to access the Bermuda Government's terminal. In 1948, the US Army Air Forces became the independent US Air Force, the airbase became Kindley Air Force Base, and the civil flying boat airport on Darrell's Island closed completely. In 1970, the airfield was transferred to the US Navy. When the US Navy withdrew from Bermuda in 1995, operation of the entire airfield was handed over to the Bermuda Government, and it was renamed the Bermuda International Airport (with the Civil Air Terminal no longer distinguished within it).

Airport policing prior to 1995[edit]

As a US Naval Air Station, policing of most of the airfield had been a US Naval responsibility, carried out by US NAS Bermuda Police, and by US Navy Security Detachments (for a time, there had also been a US Marine Corps detachment). The area used by the Bermuda Government, comprising the Civil Air Terminal, and what are now labelled Aprons One and Two, with that part of the taxiways and former runway (currently Taxiway Bravo) which lay between, were policed by the Bermuda Police Service (BPS). The Bermuda Police Service maintained a small station in the Civil Air Terminal, controlled the access points to airside used by workers and vehicles, drove vehicle patrols, and kept watch on the tarmac (with no jetways, passengers at the airport are able to mingle with apron workers). The Bermuda Police Service was responsible for all policing duties on the airside of the Civil Air Terminal, including arresting and removing passengers from aircraft, and responding to emergencies. The Airport Police Station had no jail facilities, but also served to hold people detained by other agencies (Bermuda Immigration, HM Customs, US Customs, Immigration and Agriculture) 'til they could be transferred to the St. George's Police Station. The duties facing the service at the airport were considered unarduous, and it was long used as the first posting for newly-trained constables.

Creation of the Airport Security Police[edit]

An AS Policeman

In 1995, with the withdrawal of the US Navy, the Bermuda government took on responsibility for policing the entire airfield. Unfortunately, Bermuda was still feeling the effects of the recession of the early 1990s, and this had led to a reduction in the manpower of the Bermuda Police Service. At the same time, the new Police Commissioner, Colin Coxall [1], was determined to modernise the Bermuda Police Service by returning it to its roots [2]. It was felt that the service had lost familiarity with the community it was policing, with constables waiting in police stations to react to situations, rather than walking the beat, anticipating, and preventing them. As the Bermuda Police Service attempted to redirect its efforts to more traditional 'community policing', which required a greater manpower, it found itself short of constabulary. Many non-policing roles within the service were reassigned to civilians in order to place more police officers on the street, but it was ultimately decided to withdraw the detachment from the airport in order to make-up the shortfall elsewhere.

The Bermuda Government was still responsible for the policing of the airfield, which responsibility fell to the Ministry of Transport's (MOT) Department of Air Operations (DAO). Rather than organise a new police force itself, the DAO contracted a private company (Island Wide Security Services - now Bermuda Security Group) to organise, recruit, train, and operate the force on its behalf. Recruiting was primarily of ex-service personnel. This included former members of the Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Reserve Constabulary, The Bermuda Regiment (which trains in Internal Security as a potential back-up to the civil police), the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Former US Naval personnel resident in Bermuda have also been recruited. The new Airport Security Police took over all airside duties from the Bermuda Police Service (and the US Naval Security Detachments) in 1995. Those parts of the US Naval Base not necessary for the operation of the airfield were fenced off, and were guarded, til the area was redeveloped, by Baselands Security, security guards (who lacked police powers) recruited and controlled by the Bermuda Police Service.

Organisation of the Airport Security Police[edit]

The unit has a strength of about twenty, under the control of a uniformed manager, a former senior officer of the Bermuda Police Service. The Bermuda Police Service vets recruits, who are trained with the assistance of the Bermuda Police Training School. The Airport Security Police operates under the instruction of the DAO's Aviation Security Officer. Its powers, including its powers of arrest, are all drawn from the Air Transport Act. As a British Overseas Territory, security of the airfield, and of aviation in Bermuda, is ultimately the responsibility of the UK Government. The National Aviation Security Plan (NASP) of the UK Government's Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) (now the Department for Transport (DfT)), also determined the content of the Bermudian NASP, which describes the roles, responsibilities and procedures relating to security of the Bermuda International Airport. Consequently, the ASP also act under the oversight of the UK Ministry for Transport's (MfT) Regional Aviation Security Officer, responsible for Bermuda and for other British Overseas Territories in the Atlantic and the West Indies, based in the United States. Additionally, as the airspace around Bermuda has, by an agreement between the UK and US Governments, been placed under US control, the duties of the Airport Security Police are also shaped by activities in the US.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Royal Gazette, Book Review by Roger Crombie: Base hit. Author Grearson produces absorbing account of a key chapter in Bermuda's history. Published Nov 4, 2009 (Updated Feb 10, 2011)
  2. ^ The Royal Gazette: US wanted more time to cose USNAS. Americans would leave the Naval Air Station. It is closing in September, 1995. Published Apr 26, 1994 (Updated Feb 9, 2011)
  3. ^ The Royal Gazette: Millions last night saw Navy chiefs face a -, Published Apr 8, 1994 (Updated Feb 8, 2011)
  4. ^ The Royal Gazette: A sailor who ``blew the whistle on the US Base says he has been victimised by Navy chiefs for his "Club Med" allegations, Published Mar 29, 1994 (Updated Feb 9, 2011)
  5. ^ The Royal Gazette: History can be a strange thing. Sometimes the fate of nations have been changed by the most trivial things, Published Mar 25, 1994 (Updated Feb 8, 2011)
  6. ^ The Royal Gazette: Bermuda may get two-year reprieve on base, Published Nov 1, 1993 (Updated Feb 8, 2011)
  7. ^ The Royal Gazette: Base decision may occur next week, Published Oct 23, 1993 (Updated Feb 9, 2011)
  8. ^ The Royal Gazette: Base's future now in hands of US Congress, by Don Grearson News Editor. Published Oct 21, 1993 (Updated Feb 9, 2011)
  9. ^ The Royal Gazette: Dellums reassures Premier on US base, Published Oct 20, 1993 (Updated Feb 9, 2011)
  10. ^ The Royal Gazette: The year in Review, Published Dec 31, 1993 (Updated Feb 8, 2011)

External links[edit]