Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Full body scanners roll-out around the corner?
The use of full-body scanners across UK airports looks more likely as fears of retaliation after the killing of Osama Bin Laden grow, according to reports.
Currently a small number of the scanners are used at Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham airports but the Daily Mail reports that Whitehall has intimated that they could be rolled out nationally in response to heightened fears of terrorist attacks in the wake of the al Qaeda leader’s death.
The scanners have caused consternation from civil liberties groups which claim that they are too invasive. It is possible to make out the nude outline of a passenger with the scanners.
The news of Bin Laden’s death is also thought to have strengthened the case of British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton’s case that UK airport officials should employ a narrower, more focused approach to targeting potential terrorists at airports.
Sir Martin has criticised the blanket approach taken by security services in the past, saying citizens from known trouble hotspots should be more closely scrutinised than known frequent flyers and pilots.
He believes the age, background, country of origin and travel plans of passengers should inform security officials on how they carry out their checks.
Sir Martin’s argument is also backed by pilots’ leaders, who have warned that airports are “sexy targets” for terrorists and who now want a fundamental review of security after the news of Bin Laden’s death was revealed on Monday.
British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) general secretary Jim McAuslan said on Monday: “Resources must be targeted at the greatest threats rather than the current blanket approach.”
by Dinah Hatch