The introduction of full body scanners at Heathrow and Manchester airports is to be welcomed.
The introduction of full body scanners at Heathrow and Manchester airports is to be welcomed, even if there is some doubt about their efficiency. Would they have detected the Detroit underwear bomber? At least they might have had a deterrent effect, even if most likely the technology would not have identified Farouk Abdulmutallab as carrying a concealed charge of PETN explosives large enough to bring down a jumbo-jet. So will the scanners protect us?
Reportedly, scientists at Porton Down have warned that PETN could be carried internally, perhaps as breast implants, which raises an entirely new set of challenges. For years drug mules have swallowed condoms containing refined pure cocaine, or inserted packages of contraband narcotics into body cavities, but what about cosmetic surgery?
While body scanners have a long history of detecting the hapless women heading to Europe from West Africa, can they be relied upon to find PETN implants instead of those containing silicone or saline?