A man was accused of paedophilia by staff at Gatwick Airport — simply because he was with his boyfriend, an official report has disclosed. In one of a series of embarrassing case studies from the airport’s north terminal, the traveller had his bags rifled through in front of other passengers simply because he was gay.
The shock report, uncovered by investigative journalist David Hencke, reveals the man was searched in public despite repeated requests for a more private location, after which staff loudly remarked that he was HIV positive — within earshot of other passengers:
“When subsequently asked why this passenger had been stopped immediately after this interaction, the officer commented that the passenger ‘looked like he might be involved in paedophilia’ and then went on to say that ‘the presence of the camera and the fact he had a boyfriend confirmed this’”
But despite the reference to the camera and paedophilia, however, no photos were actually examined by Gatwick’s answer to the Keystone Cops.
When not harassing gay men, security staff then turn to women — and strip search them. The majority of women stopped by security staff were ordered to strip, in comparison to around one in five men.
“We found that 16 out of the 24 identified strip searches undertaken involved women. Given that only 30 of the 108 passengers subject to person searches involved women, this indicates that at least 54% of the female passengers stopped and searched were strip searched compared with between 11% – 20% of the men subject to a person search.”
Gatwick Airport north terminal: your gateway to sun, sand and strip searches.