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Threat Image Projection (TIP) is a software system that is used at airports to project images of threat items amongst the passenger baggage being screened by X-ray. The use of TIP is becoming more widespread and is increasingly being included as part of security regulation. This is due to its purported benefits of improved attention and vigilance, and increased exposure to threat items that are linked to improvements in threat detection performance. Further, the data collected by the TIP system can be used to assess individual performance, provide feedback to screeners, and tailor training to specific performance weaknesses; which can generate further performance improvements. However, TIP will only be successful in enhancing security performance if it is used and managed effectively. In this paper the key areas of effective TIP use and management that enable security performance to be enhanced are highlighted. These include the optimisation of TIP settings, such as the TIP to bag ratio, and image library management. Appropriate setting of these components can lead to improved performance as a facet result of increasing exposure to a suitable range of threat images. The key elements of TIP training are highlighted including the importance of communicating TIP related information and the role of the supervisor in ensuring TIP is used appropriately. Finally, the use of TIP data are examined, including the effective use of TIP for performance assessment and screener feedback and in defining training. The provision of feedback regarding TIP scores has been shown to enhance performance in excess of that achieved by using TIP in isolation. To date, the vast majority of TIP research has been conducted in relation to the screening of carry-on baggage. In the final part of this presentation the use of TIP to enhance performance in other areas such as Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) and Cargo are considered. HBS TIP is associated with different challenges due to its alternative - method of operation (to present complete images of a bag and threat item) which imposes demands for the operational set-up and the construction of the image library. The use of TIP in Cargo is associated with a different set of challenges as a result of the diverse nature of items scanned and the screening environment. However, in both these domains, the use of TIP has been associated with the realisation of benefits in line with those achieved for carry-on baggage screening. Through understanding differences in the context in which TIP is used it is possible to understand the differing requirements for its use and management that will enable the benefits of TIP to be realised, enhancing security performance across locations and screening contexts.
Date of Conference: 5-8 Oct. 2009