Airport security should be “unpredictable”
MPs say that business travellers should not know what to expect when they pass through airports in order to beat terrorism
The current confusion over what business travellers should expect when they go through security in Britain’s airports looks set to increase if recommendations from the Home Affairs select committee are adopted.
A report from the all-party committee published this week entitled Counter–Terrorism Measures in British Airports recommends that “passengers, and terrorists, should not know what regime they will face when they arrive at airports; greater unpredictability and a higher level of deterrence is needed in airport security arrangements”.
The committee also recommends that airport scanners should be camouflaged to prevent the identification of the equipment used and the technical specifications of this equipment hidden from passengers, who can currently search for how a scanner works on the internet.
The committee says in its report: “The Government should be wary of relying on one make or model of equipment and must place greater emphasis on varying the measures put in place, where possible concealing the technical specifications of equipment away from the public gaze.”
The UK should also be in a position to refuse direct flights from countries which are unwilling to agree tougher standards, says the committee. “Rather than merely negotiating a reasonable outcome with the country concerned, the Government should be more willing to refuse direct flights, which in turn would create a commercial incentive for all states to improve their security regime,” it said.
The Committee’s chair, Keith Vaz MP, said: “The threat to air passengers from terrorists is very real and as we have seen repeatedly over the last year or two, those who would do us harm are constantly evolving new ways to try to commit atrocities. While welcoming these new measures, we remain concerned at what seems to be a reluctance to aggressively adopt new measures and the Government’s adoption of a somewhat “reactive approach” to aviation security. We must be constantly evolving our response, developing and adopting new technologies as quickly as possible and creating an unpredictable mix of security measures at airports.
Mark Frary (Alan Ewing) Times Online