Travel & Booking > Security - Body Scanner

Security - Body Scanner

In accordance with DfT regulations, a new body scanner has been installed in LCY central search and will begin to be used with randomly-selected passengers from September 1. 

The ‘eqo Millimeter Wave Scanner’ is the latest in security-screening technology, scanning passengers quickly, easily and unobtrusively. Although the scanning process is obligatory for those passengers who are selected, it can also be chosen by passengers in preference to a  ‘pat down’ search. The scan - which takes a matter of seconds - displays a generic mannequin figure with no distinguishing features.

The scanner uses millimeter wave  imaging to produce the image, which will highlight any concealed, potentially threatening, objects. Millimetre wave technology is harmless and the scanner can be used by anyone, regardless of any medical or physical condition, who is able to stand in the scanner.

Frequently Asked Questions


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Why is the scanner being introduced?

The scanner represents the future of security search, and is being installed in accordance with DfT regulations.

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How does it work?

The scanner uses millimetre wave technology to produce an outline image of the passenger’s body, highlighting any concealed objects.

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How are passengers selected?

Passengers are selected completely at random – the selection process is not linked to ethnicity, nationality, religious persuasion or final destination.

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What happens when a passenger is scanned?

The passenger steps in to the machine, and, while they are in the machine, will be asked to turn around.  The process takes a matter of seconds and an outline image is produced immediately.

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Is the scanner safe?

Yes. The scanner poses no risk to anyone using it, regardless of medical or other physical condition.

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Is the passenger’s privacy protected?

Yes. The image is a generic image without distinguishing features which, in any case, is not retained.

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Are children, or any other groups, exempted from random selection?

No. No-one is exempt from scanning  if they are selected, unless they are physically unable to stand in the scanner. Children can hold their parents’ hands while using the scanner.

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Is there an alternative screening method?

When security scanners were originally introduced in 2010, the Department for Transport (DTF) Decided no alternative screening method would not be offered to passengers selected to be screened by a security scanner: the so called ‘No scan, No Fly’ policy. This decision was made on operational and security grounds.

However, operational experience of security scanners has shown low refusal rates from passengers. This means that offering an alternative screening method, previously considered too great a burden on airports, now appears viable. 

The alternative screening method will be at least a private search (an enhanced hand-search in private which may involve the loosening and/or removal of clothing). The DFT considers that this alternative offers a comparative security assurance to passengers as being screened by a security scanner. 

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