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Paris airports have tightened security since November attacks

Published 19/05/2016

Police officers on patrol at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (AP)
Police officers on patrol at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (AP)

French authorities have tightened security at Paris airports since last year's attacks in the capital, with thousands of border police officers, customs personnel, soldiers and private guards patrolling daily in the three airports serving the capital.

In addition to thousands of police, army and customs members, some 5,000 security guards working for private contractors are assigned to the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget airports, according to Paris Aeroport, the authority in charge.

These forces are responsible for ensuring security both in the airports' public areas and in reserved areas, such as boarding gates, baggage sorting sections, and tarmac areas where only passengers with boarding passes and airport staff with special red badges are allowed.

In the terminals, the number of patrols has increased in public areas, video surveillance has been strengthened with 9,000 CCTV cameras overall, bags and coats have been subject to random checks at the entrances, police dog teams who can detect explosives are patrolling, and "profiling" agents trained to detect "unusual behaviours" have been recruited.

Overall, 86,000 airport staff - baggage handlers, duty free shop employees, maintenance workers, restaurant staff, firefighters, rescue workers and air traffic controllers - are carrying "red badges" that provide access to restricted areas of the airports. These badges are given for three years by local authorities, not by the airports, after several police investigations.

Last December, after the deadly November attacks in Paris, head of the Paris Aeroport authority Augustin de Romanet said that nearly 70 red badges had been withdrawn "for the phenomenon of radicalisation" and 4,000 lockers of personnel were searched.

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From Belfast Telegraph