Guernsey Airport has installed a new body scanner as part of its £1.5 million programme to refresh all passenger and baggage security scanning equipment.
The first of its type in the Channel Islands, it is hoped the scanner will reduce the need to carry out whole body manual body searches that can slow down passenger flows at peak times.
‘Most travellers will be familiar with whole body scanners at UK airports and will know how quickly a scan of a person can be carried out compared to a manual search. It uses the latest technology, the scanner has step free access and is less restrictive in space than the older enclosed scanners used in some airports,’ said deputy head of Aviation Services for Guernsey Airport Steve Langlois.
‘If a passenger activates the archway metal detector, they will be asked to enter the scanner, rather than be subjected to a manual whole body search. If the scanner then indicates there is a problem, it will identify to security staff where on the person the issue is. This approach will enable a more targeted body search.’
But how will the new body scanner work, how intrusive will it be and who will be asked to use it? Here’s everything you need to know about Guernsey Airport’s latest scanning equipment:
Who will be scanned?
If you activate the archway metal detector, you will be asked to enter the scanner instead of having a body search. Guernsey Airport has stated that passengers will not be selected on personal appearance, characteristics or their destination of travel.
What about passengers with disabilities?
Any passengers able to stand unaided in the scanner will be okay to use it. If this is not possible, a manual search will be conducted instead, in line with current UK government guidelines.
Are children and under 18s exempt?
No. UK Department for Transport directives, which authorise the use of security scanners by airports in the UK and the Crown Dependencies, does not exempt children or under 18s.
Can I refuse to go through the security scanner?
If you do not wish to be screened by the new scanner, you will need to have an enhanced physical search carried out in a private room. This will involve the removal of outer clothing and the loosening and/or removal of other garments.
How do body scanners work?
The body scanning system uses millimetre wave imaging to locate objects on a person that are concealed under clothing. It works by bouncing millimetre waves off an individual’s skin to produce a featureless image of the person’s body, showing any concealed, potentially dangerous objects.
The scanner only displays to security staff an indication of possible threat areas on a body outline image, which they can then use to determine if a physical search is required. This eliminates the need for staff to view any scanned images.
Will my privacy be protected?
Yes. No images can be saved or retrieved later. The UK Department for Transport has produced a code of practice, which Airports in the UK and the Crown Dependencies must follow to ensure individuals’ privacy rights are protected.
Are security scanners safe?
Yes. Tests have concluded the wave dose received is much less than using a mobile phone. It is completely safe for pregnant women, children and anyone with medical implants.
What happens when I’m scanned?
Using body scanners is a much less intrusive process than a physical hand search. Selected passengers are asked to stand in a particular position in the equipment. The whole process only takes a matter of seconds.