Airport Commander

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Specialists Operations
Code OPS/SPOP/ME/Airport Commander v1.0 Trial Draft – June 2023

Role Purpose

The term Airport Commander only relates to directed aerodromes that have a dedicated police presence (PSA)

Airport Commanders plan, manage and monitor operational policing activity at airports. They lead teams, developing and maintaining effectiveness and ensure that officers and staff are appropriately trained according to their role.

They plan the deployment of resources to respond to problems, incidents and crime, and the response to major and/or critical incidents as per guidance contained in relevant contingency plans.

They work collaboratively with airport security stakeholders to identify, manage, and mitigate risk within the Airport Security Planning Guidance framework and applicable legislation to ensure public safety and deliver a secure environment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of passengers, staff and police working at airports.

Key Accountabilities

  • Maintain high professional standards across teams of officers and staff, ensuring developmental and operational needs are met to deliver a quality service to the public, stakeholders and partner agencies.
  • Support the wellbeing of officers and staff to ensure that they are able to deliver the highest standard of service to the public, stakeholders and partner agencies.
  • Plan, manage and monitor complex front line and/or specialist operational policing activity, managing competing demands and priorities to make informed deployment decisions and ensure best use of available resources.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships with key stakeholders to enable collaboration and appropriate level of service delivery and representation at airport meetings, with partner agencies to determine and assess risks within the Airport Security Planning framework at the airport.
  • Manage team budgets, monitor and review expenditure to ensure best use of available resources and value for money, and that policing services are provided at the airport in accordance with terms of the Police Services Agreement.
  • Manage initial responses to major and/or critical incidents adhering to relevant frameworks and guidance, and relevant contingency plans ensuring appropriate resource allocation and risk management to enable effective service delivery.
  • Identify, manage and mitigate operational threats and risks in line with the Airport Security Plan (ASP), national guidance and operational policing plans to maximise the safety and wellbeing of the public, staff and police.
  • Oversee the management and allocation of crime recording on the airport footprint to ensure effective crime management.
  • Analyse and review performance data and information against airport objectives and report on local and national performance priorities to effectively inform Airport Operator and effective management of airport resources.
  • Engage and support the national aviation meeting structures to contribute to the development of aviation policing to provide clarity and consistency to the role of an Airport Commander.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Education and Qualification General:

  • A warranted Police Officer who has undertaken and successfully completed their probationary period and met all necessary local and national promotion requirements.

Education and Qualification Role Specific:

Applicable to Airport Commander’s at UK Directed Aerodromes as subject to directions made under the Aviation Security Act 1982

  • To complete a Department for Transport (DfT) approved Aviation for Security Managers (ASM) course within 6 months of appointment subject to availability of training and maintain accreditation as per DfT requirements.
  • To complete a DfT Threat Assessor course within 6 months of appointment, subject to availability of training and maintain accreditation as per DfT requirements.
  • To complete Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) Commander Training within 12 months of appointment and attend refresher training.
  • Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) RAG-SEG training within 6 months of appointment subject to course availability.

Skills/ Experience General:

  • Able to recruit, develop and motivate a diverse team to help retention with consideration of Positive Action to create a suitable work environment and strong engagement of individuals with their personal and team objectives and the Code of Ethics, force values, behaviours and strategic priorities.
  • Able to plan and coordinate activities appropriate to the function and to identify and mitigate known risks to delivery.
  • Able to develop and maintain stakeholder relationship to develop trust and understand needs and concerns.
  • Able to apply National Decision Model (NDM).
  • Able to contribute to resource planning, to manage financial budgets and use commercial acumen to make risk-based decisions.
  • Able to manage delivery of change initiatives in own team.
  • Able to identify new or improved practices to develop more effective ways of working.
  • Turn analysis into action by using data and evidence to develop options that are appropriate, achievable, and acceptable.
  • Ability to develop the skills of the team in coaching and mentoring to enable career and professional development for all.
  • Able to problem solve, critically question and identify potential opportunities to enhance efficiency and/or effectiveness across teams.
  • Able to maintain personal resilience and wellbeing and enable others to develop personal resilience and wellbeing.
  • Able to interpret aviation specific guidance and legislation and apply to specific activity.
  • Ability to benchmark and liaise with police aviation community to problems solve, share and drive change.

Experience Role Specific:

  • Understanding of roles and responsibilities specific to the airport’s aviation contingency plans such as the full emergency plan, Op Whittle and Hijacked Aircraft-Ground Response plan (HA-GRP).
  • Understanding Airport Security Planning process (ASP/RAG/SEG/PSA).
  • Understanding the current risks and threats to aviation industry.
  • Experience of attending incidents and problem solving, including major and critical incidents and the application of JESIP principles.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD is ongoing; it enables the individual, in collaboration with their organisation, to maintain, develop and gain recognition for existing and new professional skills, knowledge and competence. It is undertaken to ensure we continue to provide high quality policing to keep the public safe and help to drive career aspirations. More information on how to plan CPD can be found here.

Discussion of CPD is usually included as part of a Professional Development Review (PDR). PDR is a tool to support police officers and staff to take ownership of their professional development and plan career progression. More information on how to use a PDR for development can be found here.

This section has three parts:

  1. annual learning/mandatory training/accreditation requirements
  2. signposting to suggested activities and resources for the individual to maintain and enhance competence and professional development in the role
  3. any ongoing professional registration and/or licensing requirements of the role)

Annual learning/accreditation requirements

(Outlines mandatory/annual learning or requirements to maintain accreditation in the role. Please note any exemption is at Chief Constable discretion, in line with local force policy.)

  • Attend JESIP refresher training as required every 3 yrs.
  • Any ongoing mandatory training/accreditation/refresher training as required by any of the DfT courses.

Professional Development:

Attending learning and networking events, such as conferences.

Ongoing CPD sessions delivered online through UKAPDG/UKAIF community.

In order to keep up to date with new approaches to evidence based policing, and new technological approaches within the Airport Commanders role, the following should be considered:

  • Keep up to date with relevant national guidance.
  • Keep up to date with changing legislation, specifically aviation and how this may affect you in your role.

Keep up to date with current risks, threats, trends and learning within the aviation industry as shared through the UKAPC group and other forums such as the aviation group on Knowledge Hub.

Professional Registration/Licenses


Links to other Profiles

Consideration to include:

  • Public Order Public Safety (POPS) Bronze /Silver Commander
  • Counter Terrorism Security Coordinator (CT SecCo)
  • Tactical Firearms Commander (TFC) / Strategic Firearms Commander (SFC)
  • Disruptive Effects Tactical Commander (DETaC)
  • Disruptive Effects Operational Commander (DEOp) – Project Servator
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