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AFP seize ‘ammunition rounds’ as it highlights ‘air rage’ at airports

written by Liam McAneny | October 11, 2022

The Australian Federal Police has issued a stark warning to travellers during the busy school holiday period that disruptive and dangerous behaviour won’t be tolerated.

The AFP has backed this warning up with an increase of patrols across major Australian airports during the holiday period.

Increased patrols are in response to a spike in antisocial behaviour from passengers, with AFP officers responding to 748 incidents at airports involving offensive behaviour, intoxication and public disturbances over the past seven months and 746 separate incidents involving prohibited items carried by passengers.

AFP officers seized a wide range of prohibited items, including rounds of ammunition that passengers had concealed within bags and on their persons, as well as a range of knives and other potential weapons.


According to AFP officers, many of the incidents of antisocial behaviour, public disturbances and violence have been sparked by frustration stemming from significant travel delays, cancelled or missed flights and extensive baggage issues.

Several incidents of violent behaviour outside of terminals have also been linked to disputes over taxis and rideshare services.

Officers have begun to term this increased frustration among passengers ‘air rage’.

Commander of the AFP, Peter Bodel, said that the AFP was committed to providing the necessary support to airport staff and emphasised their desire for all passengers to travel safely.

“It is disappointing when a small number of passengers show violent or abusive behaviour towards people who are trying to do their jobs, so we are urging passengers to do the right thing,” he said.

Bodel also praised the members of the public who assisted AFP in their task of keeping airports safe.

“We encourage passengers and airport staff to revisit Airport Watch and know the signs when something is not right.”

“We are calling on the travelling public to keep their eyes and ears open as they embark on their travels not only these school holidays, but anytime they are heading to the airport,” he added.

The AFP released figures of the number of incidents recorded at major Australian airports for the months between March to September, classifying them by location and category.

Over 58 incidents relating to assault were recorded within these months, while only 44 assaults were recorded for the entire year in 2021.

While the rise in passenger numbers can explain the discrepancy to a degree, AFP officers are still warning that increased frustration and incidents of ‘air rage’ will not be tolerated.

Despite these perceptions of rising passenger frustration, the statistics have shown that travellers are more well-behaved compared to pre-pandemic levels. The number of incidences of violence and assault recorded for a similar period in 2019 was 71, compared to the 58 recorded this year.

The number of incidents relating to public intoxication and offensive behaviour in 2022 were also almost half that of the 2019 period, with 120 recorded this year and 222 recorded in 2019.

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