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Brown gives go-ahead for full-body scanners at Britain’s airports

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Allegra Stratton,
London Guardian
Monday, January 4th, 2010

Full-body scanners are to be introduced at Britain’s airports after Gordon Brown gave the go-ahead for the technology in a move which pre-empted his own urgent review of airline security.

Despite questions over the effectiveness of the devices, the prime minister said yesterday that passengers would see their “gradual” introduction, along with hand luggage checks for traces of explosives. Even those travelling through UK airports in transit would have to go through the heightened security screening.

BAA, which runs six UK airports, said it would install the £100,000 machines “as soon as is practical” at Heathrow. Experts have cast doubt on whether the scanners are able to detect the type of explosive that 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accused of using in an attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day.

But Brown told BBC1’s Andrew Marr show that the government would do everything in its power to tighten security. His backing of scanner technology came before Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, reports to parliament this week on the findings of an urgent review of airport security prompted by the failed attack. It also pre-empts a European commission meeting, to be held soon, on whether to endorse EU-wide use of the machines.

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This article was posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

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