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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Improved effectiveness of security technology to reduce airport queues.

14 November, 2007
The British Transport Secretary has announced plans to reduce congestion at airport security points by lifting certain hand baggage restrictions early in 2008.
Lightening the restrictions on cabin baggage through UK airports will come as a great relief to both passengers and staff alike but this is something that everyone has put up with because of the improved security it offers against terrorism so why has Ruth Kelly, the UK Transport Secretary, approved slackening existing baggage restrictions?

Ms Kelly is very quick to point out that security levels will in no circumstances be reduced and that the changes are possible only with the improvements in screening technology that are available and that each airport must clearly demonstrate this prior to approval on an individual basis. This therefore demands an uptake in the available technology which includes back scatter X-ray devices, 3D imaging, radiation detection and detection systems that operate effectively with liquids.

Detection technology is a fast moving, innovative field and capabilities quickly outstrip and out-date procedures so its good to see that the regulations are being adapted to suit the availability of improved detection methods.

The changes won't happen immediately of course, but will be phased in based on demonstrable detection improvements.

Airports are also the subject of other proposed changes including the combination of passport control and customs checking procedures and the introduction of the e-borders system to bolster the changes to the UK visa application requirements which include the use of biometric data.
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