Editor's note: Radio grabs of Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee are available via Hightail.
Passengers are being urged to stay on the Nice List this holiday season as the AFP patrols Australia's major airports to help ensure holiday-goers arrive safely at their destination.
The AFP will be visible and prominent at airports during the festive season, and will reinforce three key messages:
The AFP has zero tolerance for bad behaviour; The AFP is here to keep you safe; and Don't be on the AFP's Naughty List these holidays.
The AFP is working with airlines, airports and regulatory authorities to help ensure a safe environment for passengers.
From May to October this year, the AFP charged more than 330 alleged offenders with about 420 charges at airports.
Most charges related to incidents involving intoxication or offensive behaviour, possessing a prohibited weapon, carrying prohibited items, public disturbance and incidents relating to assault.
From November 2021 to November 2022, the AFP responded to more than 800 aviation alcohol-related incidents at Australian designated airports, which include Canberra, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Specialist Protective Command Scott Lee said the AFP wished all members of the public a safe and happy holiday.
"This is a special time of the year, and the AFP is at airports to keep passengers safe,'' Assistant Commissioner Lee said.
"The majority of passengers do the right thing, but we know those who do not can be disruptive for other passengers.
"People who are unruly on aircraft should understand that this may mean they will not be allowed to travel and will impact their holiday plans.
"For this reason, we are asking the public to be mindful of how much they are drinking at airports."
Assistant Commissioner Lee said the AFP would patrol airports with AFP canines, which were capable of detecting cash, drugs, firearms and technology devices.
It comes as the AFP's Close Personal Protection (CPP) teams are working with Santa's representatives about his potential visits to airports.
"The AFP's CPP teams already provide protection for Prime Ministers, high-office holders and visiting dignitaries, so it makes sense that we also help the man in the red suit.
"The children of Australian can be assured the AFP will make it easy for Santa to drop off all their presents this year."
Australian Airports Association chief executive officer James Goodwin said the holiday season would be a busy one, but it was important travellers did the right thing and respected each other.
"Airports will continue to engage with travellers to promote considerate and responsible behaviour, including the responsible service of alcohol within the airport precinct," Mr Goodwin said.
"We are working hard to get you on your holiday and to your destination safely and urge people not to take out any frustrations on staff or each other as unruly or disrespectful behaviour won't be tolerated."
Airlines for Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer Alison Roberts said that over the next few months, millions of Australians would be heading off on holidays or to see family friends.
"While the vast majority of travellers treat each other and airline team members with respect and kindness, unfortunately as with other industries, there are some people who behave badly,'' Dr Roberts said.
"The safety of customers and staff is our number one priority and we have zero tolerance for any type of unruly behaviour and will refer cases to the AFP where appropriate.
"We have developed an industry code of conduct aimed at ensuring a consistent approach to preventing and managing disruptive behaviour, and as we head into the busy holiday period, we ask that passengers are respectful to their fellow travellers, as well as staff across all airports and airlines."
CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Pip Spence said that CASA strongly supports the Australian Federal Police's 'Nice List' campaign.
"Travellers need to understand that bad or unruly behaviour on an aircraft can jeopardise the safety of passengers and put the crew at risk," Ms Spence said.
"Remember everyone is trying to do their best during the busiest time of the year - and it's against the law to behave in a disorderly, unruly or disruptive manner on board a plane. And we want to ensure that everyone flying this Christmas - from passengers to the crew - gets to travel and work this festive season in a safe, secure and protected environment."
The AFP encourages the public to call Airport Watch on 131 237 if they see or hear something unusual while working or travelling through one of the nation's major airports.
Suspicious activity or unusual behaviour includes:
A person observed displaying an unusually keen interest in security procedures; A person observed recording or taking photos in or around sensitive areas of the airport; Anyone acting strangely or in an unusual manner; Anyone heard asking questions to gain information about the airport; and Anyone trying to gain unauthorised access to secure areas.
AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
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