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.

  1. Martin Sheehan says:

    Yes like their front bottoms and their bottom bottoms when a man only has his bottom bottom or his foreskin (if he is uncircumcised) much more storage room in a lady

  2. I don’t necessarily read the strip searching stat as an issue. It seems disingenuous to imply some hidden agenda for the higher proportion of women searches. I know nothing of the actual procedures but I would be very surprised if male staff were allowed to search female suspects in such a manner.

    Given that men are also much more likely to be stopped and searched (probably rightly so) it seems more likely to suggest women are stopped only with stronger cause to believe they are committing an offense. If so then I think this explains the more active actions.

    Perhaps there are also different reasons for stopping and searching. Maybe women are more likely to be involved in smuggling certain contraband as opposed to men who may be more likely to be involved in a wider variety of crimes.

  3. @Martin that may be the best comment in the entire history of the internet!

    Indeed I used to be gay, but ended up with a woman just because I needed the storage.

  4. Security staff don’t strip search anybody. This report is about Border Force staff – nothing to do with Airport Security.

  5. Firstly, the inspectorate was investigating UKBA (UK Border Agency) procedures of passengers entering the UK, which has nothing to do with Gatwick Airport Ltd or it’s private security staff who screen passengers leaving the UK. Furthermore, If a passenger alarms a metal detector, after the initial hand search is completed, the cause for alarm cannot be determined, then a private search may need to be conducted. This is always carried out by a security officer of the same sex as the person being searched, another officer (again of the same sex) acts as a witness for the security officer conducting the search and the passenger is ALWAYS offered to bring a witness of their own. Although there may be cause for concern with how the UKBA official dealt with the male passenger in question I think it’s a little unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.

  6. Amelia Coffen says:

    I suppose if the security men had much intelligence or had worked harder at school, they wouldn’t be stuck doing such a low down job now, so it’s not surprising they make Such poor judgements! Or am I just stereotyping – perhaps I should get a job in security?! Lol! X

  7. Male security arent aloud to touch women in any way at all, and it is true that women are searched more – but most of the cases have nothing to do with the fact that they might be smuggling stuff. After working in airport security myself, you come to notice that people (as in your work partners) like humiliating people and love the fact that they have some sort of power.
    Its a sad world out there, and unfortunately its quiet possible that they won’t get fired. What these guys did was horrible, dirty, and shows how some people still live in the stone age.

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