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Simulating for real: The why and how of security drills at the security checkpoint
Work at the airport security checkpoint is challenging because threat situations, for which security officers are primarily trained, happen rarely. It is therefore of high importance to raise awareness and have constant concentration. This paper analyses the work of a security officer with regard to psychological mechanisms and gives recommendations for quality-control programmes. This paper presents a new training concept, namely security drills, which are covert training cases embedded in real-life settings. Security drills build a bridge between training and testing integrated in a psychologically safe environment and create the opportunity for individual reflection. The paper introduces this training approach and gives recommendations on what to consider when developing new quality-control programmes.
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Stephanie Walter works as an applied scientist in the research and development group of Zurich State Police — Airport Police. In this position, she is involved in various projects concerning airport security with the focus on human factors as well as work and organisational psychology issues. She holds a master of sciences degree in psychology from the University of Zurich and is currently working on her doctoral degree thesis at ETH Zurich with a focus on effective team coordination.
Franziska Hofer is a Cofounding Member of the research and development group of Zurich State Police — Airport Division with more than 10 years’ experience in aviation security. She holds a doctoral degree in human factors and a master of science degree in psychology, neurophysiology and anthropology from the University of Zurich. She is in an expert in behaviour detection and optimising human potential.
Zoé Dolder is stationed at the research and development group of Zurich State Police — Airport Division, where she is involved in several projects regarding airport security. She holds a bachelor of sciences degree in psychology from the University of Zurich.
Signe Maria Ghelfi-Waechter is Head of the research and development group of Zurich State Police — Airport Division. Zurich airport police is responsible for passenger screening and landside and airside security. Signe is involved in research projects investigating different aspects of airport security, human factors and police psychology. Furthermore, she works closely with the airport operator for the improvement and development of airport security and airport operations. Signe graduated in social psychology focusing on human decision making, information processing and perception and social cognition. She holds a doctoral degree in science from the ETH Zurich and a master of science degree in psychology, European ethnology and history from the University of Zurich.