X-Ray Scanner to replace body search at UK airports

A body scanner has been introduced at Manchester airport to speed up travellers' passage through security. Using the machine means that passengers will no longer have to take off their coats, shoes and belts.

A body scanner has been introduced at Manchester airport to speed up travellers’ passage through security.

The scanner, which cost £80,000 produces naked images of passengers and can reveal breast enlargements body piercings and show black and white outlines of passengers’ genitals. Using the machine means that passengers will no longer have to take off their coats, shoes and belts.

The airport’s head of customer service Sarah Barrett added that passengers would find the scanner preferable to a traditional body search.

“Most passengers do not like the ‘pat down’ service,” said Barrett. “The scanner completely takes away the need to undress.”

She added that the images would be seen by one officer in a remote location, were not pornographic and could not be stored or captured.

Passengers have the right to refuse to be scanned by the new machine, at Manchester’s Terminal 2.

The machnes work by beaming electromagnetic waves on to passengers while they stand in a booth. A virtual three-dimensional image is then created from the reflected energy.

Ms Barrett said the radiation levels were “super safe”. She said: “Passengers can go through this machine 5,000 times a year each without worrying. The amount of radiation transmitted is tiny.”

The Department of Transport will monitor the scheme for a year before deciding whether to install similar scanners on a permanent basis.

Read our report: How revealing is the X-ray scanner at the airport?

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