Aviation Security

About Us

The Aviation Security Operational Command Unit is responsible for the policing at Heathrow and London City airports.

It is a unique policing command, which deals with the threat from terrorism, the protection of iconic sites and the response to organised crime and volume theft on a daily basis.

Our officers and staff respond to these challenges with professionalism and the Aviation Security command is highly regarded both within the Metropolitan Police Service and beyond.

What we do

The overarching aim for Aviation Security is to make Heathrow and London City Airports safe and secure places for the public and staff, and hostile environments for terrorists and criminals.

The unit works closely with the other emergency services and both airport operators to provide a high level of response to aircraft emergencies.

London City Airport

  • Is located on the Royal Victoria Dock and is within the London Borough of Newham.
  • Has one terminal building and operates a single runway.
  • Provides the gateway to the City of London and will be a major transport hub for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Heathrow Airport

  • Is located within the London Borough of Hillingdon and is one of the six airports owned by BAA plc
  • Is the busiest international airport in the world and annually handles in excess of 68 million passengers and 450,000 aircraft movements.
  • Employs over 80,000 staff.
  • Receives over 12 million other visitors and more then 20 million motor vehicles travel into the central terminal area in the course of the year.
  • Is one of the United Kingdom’s key economic points.
  • It is also at the centre of road and rail links and has one of the busiest coach stations in the UK.

Present Day and the Future

The MPS took over the policing of Heathrow from the British Airports Authority Constabulary on the 1st November 1974. In 2004 the command took over responsibility for the policing of London City Airport.

The role of the unit has evolved over the years in response to changes in the political, economic and environmental climate.

A key area of our responsibility is ensuring the security of the airport and the impact of events such as 11 September 2001 and 7 July 2005 has affected the way in which we must police our ports.

In August 2007 Heathrow found itself at the centre of both public and media attention with the presence of the Climate Camp demonstration.

The creation of our Safer Airport Teams in 2007, based on the Safer Neighbourhoods model, has provided a good relationship between police, public and business alike. The teams are made up of police officers and Police Community Support Officers who have regular contact with the airport terminals, car parks or the cargo area and to provide support and help to solve the problems and issues that arise throughout the different communities.

At Heathrow, the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008 has hugely increased the passenger capacity of the airport and the arrival of the Airbus A380 is also thought likely to herald a change in air travel.

In 2012 both airports will play a key part in the Olympic Games as gateways for the athletes, VIPs and the general public attending the events and police have worked closely with partners in the lead up the Games.

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