UK Security Scanner use to expand, but opt-out added

I fear that the UK Government has fallen in to the Security Theatre so popular with our transatlantic cousins when the Secretary of State for Transport announced yesterday that it would be expanding the use of millimetre wave scanners to additional airports and allowing those currently using them to continue to do so.

So, the expansion of the scanners will be to:

  • Stansted
  • Luton
  • Bristol
  • Liverpool
  • Newcastle
  • Aberdeen
  • Leeds Bradford
  • East Midlands
  • Prestwick
  • Cardiff
  • Belfast City

The telling statement then comes:

As a result, and having reviewed the current position, I have concluded that from tomorrow, Friday 22 November, passengers who opt out of being screened by a security scanner will be allowed a private search alternative. This is a method of screening which we consider is of an equivalent security value to a security scan. These revised arrangements will be kept under review to ensure that high levels of security are maintained whilst avoiding disproportionate impacts on airports and passengers.

It almost seems to encourage us to ‘Opt-Out’ in order to bring airport security to a slow down! In fact I think they would simply remove the opt out.

The minister responsible quotes the reasons for this as being the non-metallic explosives used on the Amsterdam to Detroit flight (NW253) and a device discovered in Yemen in Spring 2012. So, nothing based on a UK experience then?