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Aviation: Security

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps are taken in circumstances where an air passenger in transit at a UK airport refuses to be subject to a full body scan on privacy grounds; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the UK Border Agency on the matter. (317171)

Officials from the Department for Transport are discussing this matter with the UK Border Agency. Should a transit passenger refuse to be scanned and as a result is not allowed to travel, then UKBA would deal with any application for leave to enter the UK on its individual merits.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether he has had discussions with (a) Smith Technologies and (b) QinetiQ on the availability and effectiveness of full body scanners. (317512)

Officials from the Department for Transport have had discussions with a wide range of industry representatives including Smiths Detection and QinetiQ on the subject of advanced image technology, also known as body scanners.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether he has made provision for training for airport security staff in relation to behavioural profiling. (317513)

We are currently looking at whether targeting certain passengers for additional security measures at airports would be more effective than selecting a proportion of passengers at random. We have taken no decisions yet. Behavioural detection is not currently part of the training syllabus mandated for airport staff by the Department for Transport.

A number of security staff at Heathrow are undergoing training in behavioural analysis techniques—where passengers are selected if they are behaving suspiciously. This training is being trialled and will be independently evaluated. We will be considering the effectiveness of this trial before deciding whether it can be rolled out more widely.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether he plans to publish guidance relating to the protection of the privacy of airline passengers who undergo full body scans. (317519)

The Department for Transport has published an interim code of practice relating to the protection of privacy. It also covers health and safety, data protection and equality issues. The interim code of practice is available in the libraries of the House and on the Department’s website.

The Department will shortly be launching a full public consultation on the interim code of practice and will consider all representations carefully before preparing a final code of practice later in the year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport when he expects full body scanning equipment to be operational at UK domestic airports other than designated airports. (317520)

Body scanning equipment will be operational at three airports by the end of February. The Department for Transport is currently working with industry to develop a timetable for widespread implementation.