Trained Staff Effective at Identifying Risk

What the TSA wants to project to the public

Evidence given to the United States House of Representatives in 2011 during a Congressional Testimony hearing for the “Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques” (SPOT) Program in relation to the efficacy of this training at airports showed that trained staff markedly outperformed their untrained counterparts.

On average  trained staff were nine times more successful in correctly identifying a “wrongdoer” from the travelling public and on occasions this rose to as much as 50 times more successful.

So much so that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requested $236.9 million to fund 3,336 Behavioural Detection Officers (BDOs) , including 350 new positions to further enhance TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program at high-risk airports and expand coverage to smaller airports. BDOs serve as an additional layer of security in airports by providing a non-intrusive means of identifying individuals who may pose a risk of terrorism or criminal activity.

Read the full article at Paul Ekman International.

I got to second base with a TSA screener… not use if it’ll catch on

This is fantastic news for behavioural science. What isn’t such good publicity is are the numerous reports of invasions of people’s personal privacy, and slogans such as “T.S.A.: Tolerated Sexual Assault” and “I got to second based with a TSA screener”.

To me, the idea of increasing the use of behavioural sciences in areas of security allows for improved accuracy as to who to keep an eye on, which in turn should decrease the instances of the completely innocent elderly having to publicly undress (as an example). I’ve already written about the issues of risk assessment and the potentials of people’s rights being imposed “for the greater good or public safety” so there’s no need to repeat my thoughts, other than to say; in my opinion there must be a balance. I’ll quote myself here by saying; “Mullen (2001) warns that important aspects of a subject’s care, personal freedom and rights may be abandoned as part of the obsession with the risk of violence. This shift of slowly stripping the rights from offenders is captured nicely by Murphy (2002) as he quotes Dr Johnson; “He who injures one threatens many,” (Murphy, 2002, p. 175).”

A balance is needed between the Government providing adequate protection to its citizens while not over stepping boundaries of human rights and personal freedoms. Some could say that we now waive these rights when we choose to fly? Perhaps. However this side of the TSA can bring a bad name to behavioural sciences in my opinion.

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About Stu Dunn

I have three major professional areas in my life: Team Dunn Real Estate (Harcourts Real Estate with my beautiful wife Bridget), SDL (Behavioural Science Consulting) and Qian Li Dao Academy NZ (Wing Chun Kung Fu). Stu & Bridget Dunn Real Estate: Providing awesome service and results through our approachable, professional and effective real estate services. http://stubridget.harcourts.co.nz/ SDL: SDL helps our clients to understand non-verbal communication and to avoid deception. We do this by providing online courses, training and specialist advice in areas of behaviour, emotional analysis and detecting deception. Both my wife Bridget and I are also FACS certified. I have also written an International Best Seller, True Lies; A Guide To Reading Faces, Interpreting Body Language & Detecting Deception In The Real World. www.MicroExpressions.co.nz, www.facebook.com/sdlmicroexpressions & www.StuDunn.com Qian Li Dao Academy NZ (Wing Chun Kung Fu): The Wing Chun System, known for its incredible speed, powerful straight punches & Chi Sao (contact reflex training), relies on angling & body mechanics rather than brute force. www.QianLiDao.co.nz
This entry was posted in Analysis, Evaluating Truthfulness and Credibility, Facial Expressions, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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