Airport security measures after 9/11 largely ineffective in ensuring passenger safety

December 21st, 2007 - 12:31 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec 21 (ANI): A new research has questioned airport security screening measures after September 11th, arguing that there is no evidence that the huge amounts of money spent on them have ensured safety to passengers traveling by air.

The research has been featured in the Christmas issue of the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

The research team reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of airport security screening measures, comparing it to the evidence required by the UK National Screening Committee criteria to justify medical screening programmes.

Despite worldwide airport protection costing an estimated $5.6 billion every year, they found no comprehensive studies evaluating the effectiveness of passenger or hand luggage x-ray screening, metal detectors or explosive detection devices. There was also no clear evidence of testing accuracy.

Most screening programmes around the world are closely evaluated and heavily regulated before implementation. They rely on sound scientific and cost-benefit evidence before they are put into practice, said Eleni Linos. Is airport security screening an exception, he questioned.

Accoring to the researchers, While there may be other benefits to rigorous airport screening, the absence of publicly available evidence to satisfy even the most basic criteria of a good screening programme concerns us.

Though the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) defends its measures by reporting that more than 13 million prohibited items were intercepted in one year, the authors of the new research argue that there is no way of knowing what proportion of these items would have led to serious harm.

All these facts have led the researchers to call for airport security screening to be open to public and academic debate.

Rigorously evaluating the current system is only the first step for building a future airport security programme that is more user-friendly, cost-effective and, ultimately, protects passengers from realistic threats, the research team concludes. (ANI)

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