AvSec operates a behavioural detection capability at specified locations.

Behavioural detection is a method of observing human behaviour which can include physiological, verbal and non-verbal indicators. These behaviours can indicate something potentially untoward or in need of further investigation.

Behavioural detection officers (BDOs) are trained to identify the behavioural indicators associated with a potential threat or unlawful activity. If they identify such behaviours our officers can engage with the individuals concerned, make enquiries, and may require additional screening and security checks to help ensure the safety of travelling passengers and members of the public.

Where unlawful activity is discovered using behavioural detection, individuals are referred to other appropriate agencies like NZ Police or Customs.

Behavioural detection is a well-established discipline across a range of law enforcement and transport jurisdictions around the world. Behavioural detection officers provide a highly specialised service that forms an integral part of the New Zealand’s aviation security system.  Other key attributes of behavioural detection include its:

  • Mobility – behavioural detection officers can be quickly and randomly deployed in a range of locations around the airport and other locations (unlike other more static initiatives such as baggage screening)
  • Utility – behavioural detection officers are adaptable and can be used in a number of ways. For example, they can work together with the explosive detector dog unit for joint comprehensive and quick responses.  They can also be used in a response to a suspected threat (e.g., carrying out an initial inquiry/investigation to support a Police notification and working with Police to support their subsequent activities)    
  • Reach – behavioural detection officers can be used to identify potential risks or threats beyond passengers – e.g., landside non-passengers and insider threats which are evolving risks/threats in aviation security. They can also be used outside of the airport environment (e.g., security at special events).
  • Effectiveness – behavioural detection is being increasingly used by other countries in aviation security 

They also contribute by providing a deterrent to criminal activity in aviation environments.  

The skillsets that behavioural detection officers bring are increasingly being used to support other jurisdictions/agencies (e.g., NZ Police, Pacific countries and authorities). 

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