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Gatwick plane-spotters: We are not terrorists
Plane-spotters have taken to social media to tell Sussex Police: “We are not terrorists”.
Now the force has asked aviation lovers to get on-board and help officers' spot real potential terrorists.
They have produced a card so plane-spotters can flash it to prove they are at the airport to do nothing more sinister than spot planes.
Sussex Police said they actually valued the jet enthusiasts because they were part of the “eyes and ears of the police and airport community”.
Writing on Twitter, two plane-spotters shared their experiences of being moved on by Sussex Police at Gatwick.
One man said: “I keep going to the end of RWY8 and anti-terror police keep moving me on.”
@_alphabravo ahh I see, I keep going to the end if RWY8 and anti terror police keep moving me on 😩😡— Ben Percy (@benny_boy_89) March 18, 2014
A second aircraft fan added: “That happened with me on Saturday.
“But I've ordered a card with Sussex Police that says I'm an aviation spotter so I don't get moved on.”
@benny_boy_89 just vehicles do :) but I've ordered a card with Sussex police that says I'm an aviation spotter so I don't get moved on— Andrew ✈️ (@_alphabravo) March 18, 2014
Chief Inspector Andy Kundert told The Argus: "Sussex Police works closely with aviation enthusiasts at Gatwick as their presence around the perimeter of the airport provides us with valuable additional eyes and ears in our security operation.
"People watching aircraft are discouraged from using certain areas and we will not tolerate any attempts to improve views such as by placing ladders close to the perimeter or similar activities.
“At times, people will be asked to move on.
"In conjunction with the Gatwick Aviation Society and The Original Gatwick Spotters News Group on Google, we have set up an Aviation Enthusiasts Photo ID Card Scheme, similar to those at some other airports, to promote a closer working relationship with enthusiasts.
“It does not give any additional rights over any other member of the public, but shows police and security staff the holder's willingness to assist in looking out for criminal or terrorist behaviour.”
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