More police targeting drunk Gatwick passengers

Sussex Police will increase patrols targeting drunk passengers at Gatwick Airport.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 2:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:06 pm
Sgt Darren Taylor. Sussex Police photo

A spokesman said its summer crackdown on disruptive jet-setters, Operation Disrupt, will have more patrols in its second successive year.

Sergeant Darren Taylor, of the Gatwick Airport Policing Team, said: “We deal with disruptive passengers all year round, but we recognise the problem tends to peak in the summer months – often when there are a lot of stag and hen parties – and that’s why we run a specific operation at this time of year.

“Working with the airlines, we’re able to target a number of long and short haul routes where we feel there may be issues. We’ll also be increasing patrols around the airside and around licensed premises to ensure people are aware of the rules and their responsibilities.

“The whole concept is about early engagement, to prevent disorder from occurring and to allow the majority of well-behaved passengers to enjoy their flight. The bottom line is if people are drunk and disorderly, they will be refused carriage. It’s as simple as that.”

Operation Disrupt runs from June 1 to September 30. The force has worked with Gatwick Airport, its pubs and bars, and airlines for several years to reduce and control the issue of drunkenness on flights.

A police spokesman said any individual convicted of being drunk on board an aircraft faces a maximum sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment. He added limits on fines imposed by magistrates for this offence were removed in March 2015, meaning offenders could face a heavy financial penalty. Offenders were also liable to pay the costs incurred by an airline in the event of a delayed or cancelled flight.

A total of 208 flights were covered as part of the operation in the summer of 2015. Of these, 118 incidents of disruption were reported, while officers also responded to further reports of problematic passengers on other routes.

Of those reports, a total of 80 passengers were refused carriage due to their behaviour and a further 81 were given words of advice.

In addition, 26 passengers were arrested for offences including being drunk and disorderly, threats to kill, assault, public order, interfering with cabin crew and being drunk on board an aircraft.

Sgt Taylor added: “We’ll be keeping an eye on people from the point they check in to the point they board an aircraft. It’s about getting in there early so people are aware of the rules, and if they continue to break them, they will be dealt with robustly.

“Gatwick is an extremely family orientated airport and we pride ourselves on being very passenger friendly. It’s a great place to travel to and from, but there are a minority of people who will ruin the experience for others.

“If you want to have a few drinks, wait until you actually get on holiday. Don’t ruin it for yourself or others due to acting in an anti-social manner at the airport”

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