After getting ripped apart again as I made my way through airport security recently after committing the crime of forgetting to place my mini-Nivea deodorant in a plastic see-through bag, I couldn’t help but think how this was now the norm, not the exception.

Despite there being no recent terrorist attacks, it seems that officials are wanton to deem something ‘terror-related’ at present to save criticism of their actions.

We still sit officially as a country at a ‘substantial terror’ threat level (meaning an attack is likely). The scale which runs through low to moderate, substantial to severe and critical would sound a lot less dramatic as ‘medium’ as that is what it is, but that of course would damage the egos of the humourless hi-vizzed security teams whose job it is to confiscate some serrated children’s Barbie scissors or any liquids over 100ml.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis feels security checks are over zealousBrett Ellis feels security checks are over zealous

West End theatres are just as culpable: Recently I was refused entry, some 30 minutes before an instantly forgettable show, as I had a Pret A Manger crayfish sandwich in my Karrimor rucksack.

As much as physical security can be overzealous, over officious and ultimately antagonistic in their approach, generally, the complete opposite is the case with online security.

Ticking ‘I am not a robot’ does not mean I am not a robot as, if I were a good robot then I would program said robot to lie and tick they weren’t. That system is only slightly less galling than the ‘tick all the traffic lights’, or crosswalks, or bicycles pictorial test that seem to be prevalent at present.

These often catch me out as I am genuinely unsure as to tick the squares containing a small part of said item. When it says tick the bikes, does it mean the quarter of the back tyre that falls into another box or not? Or maybe I’m just a complete idiot…

Now as much as I criticise security, if that is was it is, I think back to my one evening as a security guard, at a rave in the 1990s in Brighton. As I guarded a door, a gang of travellers showed up. Outnumbered 10-to-one, and on my own, they demanded entry. I refused due to their manner before I was told ‘Let us in now or we’ll open you up’, before I did the brave thing and stepped aside as they made their way in for a pleasant night of Acid House.

Still, I got a bomber jacket and a few quid out of the situation, so all’s well: but I was never asked back, which I am somewhat gutted about as being bad at security is what being a security guard is all about, isn’t it?

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.