Passengers face tougher checks in the wake of Bin Laden’s death

3.5.2011 (Daily Mail)
By Ray Massey

It is feared Bin Laden’s death will spark retaliation attacks

Millions of Britons face tougher security checks and longer queues amid fears
of reprisals by terrorists seeking to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.

Full-body ‘nude’ scanners now in use at three UK airports could now be rolled
out across the UK by ministers, according to Whitehall insiders.

A small number of the new scanners are already in use at Heathrow, Manchester
and Birmingham airports following an attempted suicide bomb attack at Detroit
on Christmas Day a year ago.

The new scanners act like a mini radar device that can ‘see’ beneath ordinary
clothing but have been strongly criticised by civil liberties campaigners as an
invasion of privacy because they reveal ghostly outlines of the most intimate
parts of their body.

Three days ago the Government also extended restrictions on passengers carrying
liquids on aircraft which were due to expire on April 29. The rules – introduced
across Europe in the wake of the Heathrow bomb plot in 2006 – bar passengers from
carrying liquids on to planes unless they are in individual containers no bigger
than 100ml.

But airline, airport and pilots’ leaders say the Government should also now be
less ‘politically correct’ and target the highest risk passengers – based on their
age, origin, background and travel plans – rather than maintain the current ‘blanket
approach’ that treats all passengers as an equal threat.

Pilots’ leaders warned that airports are a ‘sexy target’ for terrorists and are
demanding an urgent and ‘fundamental’ security review following the killing of
the Al Qaeda leader.


British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton yesterday (MON) won more support
for a less politically-correct and ‘one size fits all’ approach to airport security.

Last month he said students from the Yemen – a known hotbed of Al Qaeda support
– should face tougher airport checks than ‘trusted frequent flyers’ such as airline
pilots, despite official sensitivity about ethnic profiling of potential terrorists.

Travellers should not face long queues ‘in the name of uniformity’, the 64-year-old
BA chairman said.

 Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA)
yesterday agreed: ’Resources must be targeted at the greatest threats rather than
the current blanket approach.’

He added:’Aviation continues to be under threat because it’s a sexy target.’

The Department for Transport’s security arm Transec is reviewing security on
land, sea and air in the wake of bin Laden’s demise.

Foreign Secretary William Hague ordered UK embassies around the world to review
their security noting: ”We will still have to be vigilant, even more vigilant,
in the coming days about the international terrorist threat.’

A worldwide travel alert issued by the US State Department, which put its embassies
on high alert and warned of the heightened possibility for anti-American violence,
will also have a knock-on effect on British travellers.

 Airport operator BAA which last year carried 104million passengers from its
six UK airports – including 65million from Heathrow – said security levels were
already at an ‘extremely high level’ but would be kept under constant review.

Passengers going through archways that scan for metal and explosives, while their
hand luggage is screened by specialised X-ray machines, also face random checks
and ‘unpredictable’ changes – including checks on shoes, computers and mobile

Eurostar carries 9.5 million passengers a year between the UK and the Continent,
subjecting passengers to airline style security checks and baggage screening.

It said:’We work very closely with the governments of the UK, France and Belgium.
If they tell us to increase security checks, we will do so. But we cannot discuss

A Department for Transport spokesman said the safety of the travelling public
was ‘paramount’ and the security regime for the transport network – including
rail, Underground, roads, ferries and air – combined intelligence and technology:
’This regime is kept under constant review, but for obvious security reasons we
do not comment on the specifics