Monday, January 04, 2010

But do full body scanners protect us against terrorism?

Chris Huhne has taken the same line as Norman Baker in criticising the government for not installing full-body scanners at British airports sooner. It would be more impressive if either had discovered this enthusiasm for scanners before Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempted attack.

But will these scanners make air passengers any safer? Two reports in yesterday's newspapers suggested that they may not.

The Mail on Sunday quotes the Tory MP Ben Wallace, who worked on the scanners at the defence research organisation QinetiQ before entering Parliament in 2005, as suggesting that the £100,000 ‘millimetre wave’ machines would not have been able to detect the syringe that Abdulmutallab smuggled on to the plane.

In the Independent, Jane Merrick repeated this claim and also says that her paper has:
heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that Gordon Brown announced the introduction of these scanners because he felt he had to be seen to be doing something now that terrorist attacks on aeroplanes have returned to the headlines.

And how long will it be before the press discovers the child pornography problem?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If airports are going to get these scanners, then the Parish Council on the Bay (aka the Welsh Assemby Government) will also want one, to keep up with the times, they are into their gadgets