The new rules about carrying lighters on American aircraft kicked in on April 14th and even though I was in the USA at the time I missed the public information broadcast about it, and fell foul of the law. I had been in Chicago and Green Bay Wisconsin, lecturing to University students about personal safety and security, then took a flight to North Carolina. I was sitting in the cafe at Raleigh Durham airport having gone through security, when three businessmen came and sat next to me at the table: one asked in a loud voice how I had managed to get my lighter through security when his was taken from him. Not having a clue what he was talking about I sought information from them and discovered that two days beforehand a new law had been introduced banning people from flying with lighters. You can carry up to four books of matches - but no lighters. I was then approached by a cop who told me I had to hand the lighter over; I gave it up without a fight but asked the reason behind the law when I could walk into a duty free shop, buy a bottle of Brandy in a glass bottle and take it on board, thus having the alcohol as an accelerant and the bottle as a weapon, should I chose to break it and slit someone's throat.
This new law came about because of Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who was spotted on a flight trying to light his shoelaces with matches and therefore setting off the semtex hidden in his shoe. The authorities believed if he had been using a lighter the laces would have ignited. I got my flight to JFK, then another to London, only to discover I had another lighter in my jacket pocket and had not known about it, nor apparently did the security people at JFK New York airport.
The month of May for me is a busy month! Firstly I attend Law enforcement memorial week in Washington DC, where we honour those officers killed in the line of duty, then I return to the UK as Bodyguard season takes off in London. Sounds ridiculous having a season but it's true. A lot of foreign royal families and the wealthy migrate to London for the summer months. From May onwards you will see BG teams all over Knightsbridge and the surrounding wealthy areas. Limo's will pile up outside Harrods vying for a parking spot, Security advance parties will be walking around Hyde Park letting the BG team know it is safe for their principals to run around the park for a couple of hours. Busy time.
In between all the above I am making a documentary series for an American TV Network. Let’s hope I can remember to curb my language and keep my soul intact.
Andy McNab of Bravo Two Zero fame has a new Column writing for a Sunday Newspaper magazine. Now I have always enjoyed his books and his writing style but I have to say his blatant sniping at fellow ex SAS comrades is getting a bit much. Don't make it so personal Andy.
Many thanks for all your emails, keep them coming, I enjoy your comments and will help with whatever security problems you have - to the best of my ability.
If you want a good read then go get Wensley Clarksons new true life account of a women abused by her mother "Mother Dearest". Not only could I not put it down I hated the mother so much I wanted her to hang for her crimes.
Until Next Month Stay Safe
If you are going to DC for Police week come and say hello.