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Train scanners 'backed by public'

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Passengers are ready to accept airport-style security screening at certain railway stations, Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander has said.

A trial of X-ray body scanners and other machines will report shortly, Mr Alexander told MPs.

But he said initial findings suggested passengers "understood the need" for extra security.

The trials, at underground and railway stations in and around London, followed the 7 July bombings last year.

Randomly chosen passengers were asked go through a scanner or were searched either by hand, electronic trace equipment or sniffer dogs.


Mr Alexander said the trials had taken place this year at Paddington Heathrow Express, Canary Wharf, Greenford, Euston and Brighton stations.

"I am satisfied that the emerging findings will assist us to identify a proportionate way forward in applying technological solutions to improve security both on railways and underground networks," he told the Commons transport select committee.

He said "extensive social research" carried out as part of the trials had shown "the public see the need for increased security and generally find the processes used in the trials to be acceptable".

The report would be finished "before Christmas" and his department would then publish the findings.

"We will reach judgements when we have those reports in front of us as to any operational consequences that should follow," Mr Alexander told MPs.

Mr Alexander said the threat of a terrorist attack in the UK remained "severe".




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