On 20th February the High Sheriffs of West and East Sussex and Surrey, together with their consorts, were privileged to be shown around this busy International Airport. Welcomed by members of the senior management team, Tim Norwood and Alison Addy, from the fifth floor offices they looked out over this large airport, now getting back towards its pre-Pandemic level of activity. Tim kindly explained how the airport operates, prompting many questions about current flight levels, passenger numbers, staffing and security.
The sheriffs were then driven to the location of the London Gatwick Fire and Rescue Service, where Chief Fire Officer Petts introduced his team on duty. Several vehicles were inspected and it was seen how some differ from that which the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service use, because of what they may need in an emergency affecting an aircraft. Coincidentally, it was a day when long service medals were being presented and it was a pleasure to meet and talk with such dedicated firefighters.
The visit continued at the Gatwick Police Station where a Senior Inspector in the CID/Divisional Intel Division Unit led a tour of the Station and its facilities, as well as giving them a detailed insight into the work done. Policing at an airport of such size involves many different aspects. There may be shoplifting in airport stores. Passengers may carry all sorts of items in their luggage, including large amounts of money. Or a person may be found to have died whilst trying to enter the country illegally by stowing away in the undercarriage compartment of an aircraft. There is the risk of a terrorist attack and occasional protest demonstrations.They have a Dog Unit, and the animals are trained to sniff out explosives. There are specialist firearms officers and there was a most interesting discussion with them.
The visiting party are most grateful to all who gave them their time and hospitality. It was a memorable visit.