Photo: Lars Helsinghof Bæk/Scanpix
Copenhagen Airport on Thursday forwarded complaints of harassment at security check-in points to the Copenhagen Police.
After an opinion column in Politiken described one woman’s reported sexual harassment, a series of other articles appeared in the national press about women who said they too felt violated by airport security personnel. With the media focus on the issue, 53 people have contacted the airport to file similar complaints.
Female travellers have reported that male security personnel have crossed the line when performing body checks, touching the women’s breasts and groin area.
The airport hired a lawyer who concluded that a few of the 53 complaints likely constituted illegal harassment and airport officials decided to get police involved.
“We have chosen to send all of the reports to the police and have asked them to enter a dialogue with the people who have written to us. At the same time, we have asked those travellers who have contacted us to contact the police if they don’t feel like they have been treated in line with our procedures,” Copenhagen Airport spokesman Thomas Woldbye said in a statement.
Woldbye said that the 53 complaints cover a time span of five years, during which time more than 50 million people have passed through security controls at the airport.
The airport said that Danish laws do not dictate that a female passenger must be patted down by a female security worker but that the airport nevertheless has decided to change its procedures.
Beginning on Monday, August 17th, any passengers who set off the metal detector will be sent through a full-body scan rather than subjected to a hands-on check by security personnel.
Woldbye said that the airport has often been commended for the ease of its security checks – it has been named Europe’s most efficient airport in ten of the last 12 years – and that the current round of complaints “damages what we have spent years building up”.
“Therefore it is essential that we get to the bottom of this as soon as possible and I hope that the police will quickly determine if there are grounds for further investigation,” Woldbye said.
Copenhagen Airport employees some 1,050 security personnel.