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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Testing the security

It is becoming common nowadays for newspapers to send a journalist undercover into some royal palace or government building with a large parcel labelled 'bomb' just to see how far they get. Fortunately, no one seems to have done it at the Assembly just yet.

Security is, in fact, very tight here. All visitors have to go through a metal detector and their bags are scanned for anything suspicious. In addition we have our own Police Station plus trained staff who are primed to help sort out any incidents. In theory therefore we should not have to worry too much.

It is with that in mind that I record an incident yesterday involving one of the Assembly Member's support staff. This person is leaving shortly but for some reason beyond my understanding has taken to bringing a plastic water pistol into work. On Wednesday however, she forgot her pass and had to come in through the scanners.

All was well until her handbag was scanned. There, clearly shown on the screen, was the outline of her water pistol looking for all intents and purposes like a German Luger pistol. There was a moment of tension on her part, wondering whether she would be asked to open her bag and explain what was in there, when she was waived through without any questions being asked. The person staffing the scanner did not even ask to see the offending item.

It is possible that she was known to the staff and that they assumed there was an innocent explanation, however that offers no assurances for the rest of us. Let us hope that if there is a real terrorist (or even a journalist posing as one) then they will not get beyond this scanning point.
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