Dubai says no to body scanners

Officials say there remain no plans to install body scanners at Dubai International Airport.

In this Dec. 28, 2009 file photo, an employee of Schiphol stands inside a body scanner during a demonstration at a press briefing at Schiphol airport, Netherlands. European nations were divided Thursday over the need to install body scanners at European airports, with some EU member states playing down the need for beefed up security measures.The United States, Britain and the Netherlands already have announced plans to install the scanners amid growing worldwide security concerns following the attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner flying from Amsterdam to Detroit plane on Christmas Day.(AP Photo/Cynthia Boll, file)
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DUBAI // Full-body scanners will not be introduced at Dubai International Airport, police have confirmed.

Security teams will instead rely on well-trained personnel to provide screening, Brig Gen Ahmed bin Thani, the director of the Airport Security Department at Dubai Police, said yesterday.

The airport had been considering purchasing the controversial machines - which create images of passengers' bodies through their clothing - as recently as December, when officials suggested they could be modified to protect privacy and health.

However, Brig Gen Thani said that international standards adopted by the airport in 2007 were already adequate to ensure passenger safety.

"Every airline has security procedures set by the international air travel association and their respective civil aviation authorities," he said.

About 12 million passengers were expected to use the airport during the summer, he said, but police were not expecting a seasonal increase in crime.

"We have had no indications of spikes in criminal activities during the busy summer season, but the main problems related to the increase in passenger traffic are to do with people who are unaware of security regulations."

Passengers who issued threats would be "dealt with in accordance to the set guidelines and laws".

"The majority of the cases that have been reported showed that there was no real intention for a security or terrorist threat, but mostly people just speaking in anger. However, any such talk will be treated very seriously."

Passengers arriving in the country were the main concern. "We have not registered any departure cases," said the brigadier general.

However, departure passengers could face arrest if there were a bulletin posted for them at the airport for either criminal or civil matters.

"This procedure is concerned with people who have mostly financial cases registered against them," he said.

The brigadier general's comments came at the start of a campaign by the Airport Security Department in conjunction with Dubai Airports to raise safety and security awareness among travellers this summer.

The campaign will involve 100 students and 250 Dubai airport staff. It aims to inform the public of security precautions, such as the limits on liquids allowed onboard, through the use of radio and television adverts, SMS messages and 50,000 flyers.

"Delays by passengers incur financial costs on airports, airlines and the general public. We would like the travel process to go smoother and safer for all members of the public," Brig Gen al Thani said.