Airport-style security off for stations

08 July 2008

Government plans to install airport-style X-ray machines in every London underground and mainline rail stations across the UK have been ruled out because of fears of passenger rebellions against journey delays, and complaints about personal privacy.


Trials concluded that airport-style checks would antagonise the public to the extent of being impractical. After the bombings of the London Transport system on 7 July 2005 the Department for Transport (DfT) tested various options for new transport security equipment for rail and London Underground networks. Sniffer dogs were used in both London and Brighton.


The DfT says that screening equipment and dogs can be effective but concede that ‘100% airport-style screening is currently not feasible.’


Instead, at a few of the busiest stations this summer, passengers will have their bags scanned by X-ray machines about the size of a washing machine, and random stations will be patrolled by officers with bomb-sniffing dogs.


‘The X-ray proposal was never going to work,’ says ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman. ‘It was a knee-jerk reaction to the London bombs. The idea of people turning up two hours in advance to catch a Tube was never going to be appealing!’

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