Airports: Security

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many persons travelling in the United Kingdom have been searched using body scanners or have had their luggage screened at international airports in the United Kingdom in the last (a) three, (b) six, and (c) 12 months.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many persons from ethnic minorities have been searched using body scanners or have had their luggage screened when travelling into the United Kingdom in the last (a) three, (b) six, and (c) 12 months.

Earl Attlee: The screening of passengers and baggage flying into the UK takes place at the point of departure and is the responsibility of the departing state.

Security (body) scanners have been operationally deployed in the UK since 1 February 2010 for the screening of departing passengers. In the subsequent five months to 1 July 2010, approximately 250,000 people have been screened by security scanners at UK airports. Passengers may be selected for security scanning on a random basis, or if they cause other detection systems to alarm.

The Government require that airports ensure that passengers selected for security scanning be afforded an opportunity to provide details of their age, gender, race, ethnic origin and religion or beliefs. Airports are collecting these data by a number of methods. We are considering how best to analyse these data and have also sought the views of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

We will consider this further alongside the responses to the public consultation on the use of security scanners, which closed on 19 July. All departing baggage is subjected to security screening at UK airports.

Updated: 26/07/2010 — 3:15 PM