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Security screening considered on railways

The Home Office is to consider introducing mass security screening at mainline rail stations and the Tube to scan for terrorist threats, as it launches a research brief for new technology.

The search would focus on emerging technology capable of rapidly screening huge numbers of passengers to detect explosives, guns and knives as well as chemical and biological materials.

The high volumes of passengers on the railway mean that traditional forms of screening are not possible.

Suitable screening points could be at ticket barriers, the top and bottom of escalators and platforms and the equipment could be either fixed into the station or portable for more flexible use.

Passengers are largely positive about the need for checks, the DfT has stated, but it accepts that they are unwilling to accept major delays to their journey.

The current official UK threat level is at ‘substantial’, indicating a terrorist attack is highly possible.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. British Transport Police


Greg Tingey   20/08/2012 at 18:49

Completely stark raving bonkers. Have the wankers who dreamed this up any idea at all of the numbers using the mainline termini? And the delays it will cause? How much did the motor industry and airline lobbies pay up-front in bribes for this one?

Ken O'neill   21/08/2012 at 08:51

How many of the people who came up with this idiocy are in the pay of the scanner manufacturers? Exactly how did the DfT capture their data? They certainly didn't ask anyone I know!

Richard Ryan   21/08/2012 at 16:05

I'm from Ireland, and occasionally travel to the UK for a holiday: are you trying to make sure I never do again?

Wolf Baginski   23/08/2012 at 08:20

I'm reluctant to read too much into a "research brief". But hasn't anyone run the numbers? Just one Tube station can have more passengers per year than Heathrow, and a quarter of Heathrow's daily traffic in three hours. Even if the new scanner technology can handle the numbers without slowing the traffic, what does the reaction to a detection do? When the number of terrorist attacks carried out is so low, you can pretty well guarantee that every detection, every response by security forces, will be a false alarm, with potentially huge disruption. And if you want to mess with transport, get one of those nitro-glycerine sprays that my father carries for if his heart plays up, and mark a few commuters. The research will feed through into the existing systems at airports, so it's not a waste. But I'm left with the feeling that somebody thinks the London Underground is a terrorist cell.

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