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Airport critic 'a security issue, not a free speech issue'

Law Enforcement has released a statement regarding the handling of a man who criticised Guernsey Airport on social media.

A Law Enforcement spokesperson said: “Bailiwick Law Enforcement’s primary responsibility is the safety and security of those who live and work in our islands. In this instance, which has received considerable attention, legitimate safety and security concerns were raised by the content of a social media post issued last month. For this reason and this reason alone, an individual was spoken with when he next travelled through the airport.

"He was not advised not to make negative comments about the airport again, but was advised that using certain terminology when directly referencing the airport could be misinterpreted. In any instance where specific, inappropriate language with security implications is used publically, Law Enforcement cannot be complacent.

"Law Enforcement would never use officers to prevent open debate about airport services or any other matter of fair public interest.

"This was a security issue, not a free speech issue. The officer in question, who has been subject to considerable social media commentary, acted under the guidance of senior Law Enforcement officers who specialise in counter-terrorism, and did so entirely appropriately. That said, the member of the public concerned has been directed to the police complaints process and is welcome to make a complaint if they are unhappy with how Law Enforcement has engaged with them, and our officers will of course comply fully with any complaints process.

"Because of the need to respect this complaints process, it is not possible to comment in further detail publicly at this stage. The role of Law Enforcement in ensuring the safety of travellers passing through the airport and flying to and from the Island is paramount, and that has been the overriding priority in this instance. Decisions taken by Law Enforcement are entirely independent of those made by or on behalf of Guernsey Airport.”

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