Dubai airports consider use of face recognition cameras

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By Siham Al Najami, Staff Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: The two international airports in Dubai are considering the use of face recognition cameras to enhance security.

    *  One hundred and eighty cameras have been installed at Al Maktoum International Airport so far.     * Image Credit: WAM
* One hundred and eighty cameras have been installed at Al Maktoum International Airport so far. * Image Credit: WAM

The present network of cameras will also be upgraded with the installation of the most modern software, said Brigadier Pilot Ahmad Mohammad Bin Thani, Director-General of Dubai Police’s General Department of Airport Security, at a press conference held yesterday to announce summer security preparations at Dubai International Airport.

New hi-tech cameras will be installed in Dubai and Al Maktoum international airports to ensure better security measures as 732 criminal cases have been registered this year by Dubai Police Airport Security. In 2009, there were 1,382 cases. Most of these cases are related to passport forgery.

At present, there are 3,246 cameras at Dubai International Airport and 180 cameras have been installed at Al Maktoum International Airport so far.

The Al Maktoum airport will have more cameras installed by the time it is opened for passengers in March.

Fake visas

According to the Questioned Documents Section at the General Department of Forensic Sciences of Dubai Police, more than 34 per cent of cases examined by them in 2009 were related to passport forgery, which was the highest percentage of such crimes reported.

Of the 1,837 cases handled, 628 were referred for passport forgery inspection — the passports were of 77 nationalities. Most commonly forged passports are from Eastern Asia, as earlier reported by Gulf News.

The second concern is visa fraud, said Brigadier Bin Thani.

He added that an estimated 15-20 passengers are detained at the airport to fly them to their countries after being caught with fake visas. Most of these passengers have been conned in their home countries, he said.

“They carry copies of fake visas with them. We help them out by securing places for them to stay while we force the airline which brought them to Dubai to handle their travel expenses and take responsibility. We fine the airline Dh2,000 for each passenger,” he said, adding that such cases have declined over the years.

Security preparations for Al Maktoum International Airport are similar to those implemented at Dubai International Airport, which caters to 40 million passengers annually, said Brigadier Bin Thani.

“Our security measures are based on international standards and no major security changes will take place currently,” he said.

According to him, the security department unanimously agreed not to implement the full-body scanners as they would be an obstacle for passengers.

“It is a breach of their privacy and it is a sensitive matter for many passengers. Our security measures are sufficient to detect any suspicious materials.”

Based on the department’s statistics, robberies have increased this year at Dubai International Airport with 81 cases compared with 77 cases in the entire year of 2009.

There were 83 drug-related cases this year compared with 374 in 2009.

The number of vehicles abandoned at the airport reached 33 this year from 27 in 2009 and 63 in 2008.

Airport security also manages traffic violations within its premises. Around 11,617 traffic fines have been issued this year compared with 19,915 in 2009.

General instructions for passengers:

– As you wait in line at the security checkpoint, place all metal items in a carry-on bag and take laptops and video cameras out of their cases.

– To minimise the risk of damage or loss, don’t pack fragile or valuable items in checked baggage.  Take them with you in carry-on baggage, or ship them to your destination instead.

–  You are not required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector.  However, security screeners encourage you to remove them because many types of footwear – including boots, platform shoes, and footwear containing metal or having a thick sole or heel – will require additional screening even if the metal detector does not alarm.

– Do not wear jewelry, shoes or clothing that may set off metal detector alarms or place it all in one place when going through the scanners.

– Get to the airport in plenty of time.

– Remember to put identification tags in and on all baggage including laptops.

– If screeners need to open a locked bag for inspection, they may have to break the lock. There are now products on the market that have uniform locking systems that enable metal scanners to open and relock a bag.  Passengers without such devices may still want to consider leaving bags unlocked.

– Do not carry sharp items in your hand luggage

– Do not carry flammable items in your luggage and hand bag

–  Do not carry any liquid bottle that exceeds 100ml and a maximum of five bottles.

– Never accept carrying a stranger’s luggage or putting on the flight as your own (it could be of a security threat) and if you’re requested as such by anyone the matter should be reported to authorities.

Negligence: Narrow escape

A five-year-old boy was lucky to be found by a worker on one of the luggage belts at the airport.

Brigadier Pilot Ahmad Mohammad Bin Thani, Director General of Dubai Police’s General Department of Airport Security said the Asian child was neglected by his parents while they were occupied with picking up their luggage.

Important security numbers for passengers:

  • Airport Security Operations Room: 04 216 6 999
  • Lost and found office at the airport: 04 216 2 542
  • Attending duty officer at the airport: 04 216 2 509

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