Hundreds of uniforms and badges worn by Canadian airport security screeners have gone missing despite heightened security measures put in place following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, CBC-TV's The National reported last night.
Documents obtained by the CBC show that in the first nine months of this year, 1,127 uniform parts were lost or stolen.
Some 226 of them bore the logo of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the federal agency responsible for making air travel safe.
Among the missing items were 91 metal security badges known as shields.
"What worries me is it makes it much easier to impersonate an official,'' Colin Kenny, chairman of the standing Senate committee on national security and defence, told the CBC.
"If someone isn't looking carefully at their badge, or their pass that they're carrying, there's a problem.''
In its investigation of airport security, the committee found high turnover rates among airport screeners -- leading to less experienced staff.
The committee has found at least one of those missing uniforms up for sale on the online auction site EBay.
"You can almost board a plane at will, and hijack it or anything,'' Peter St. John, an airport security consultant, told the CBC. "I mean, security simply is poor.''
However, Kevin McGar, the security authority's vice-president of strategy, said: "A uniform is in no way a document or entitlement, if you will, or an article that allows a person to access a restricted area of an airport.''