London Tubes to Use High-Tech Explosives Scanners

High-tech scanners to detect explosives on rail and Tube passengers are set to be used in the war on terror.

Police are examining equipment which could screen people for traces of explosives as they use the transport network.

Chief Constable Ian Johnston, head of British Transport Police, is pressing for a range of hi-tech measures to help thwart terror attacks.

Other measures planned are facial-recognition cameras and CCTV systems that can " reco gnise" suspicious behaviour and warn staff.

The 7 July London suicide bombings proved that lives could be saved, Mr Johnston said. "Investment would pay dividends. There is a lot of equipment that is in its infancy that could be developed.

"The challenge is applying it in a mass context in an open environment, using it successfully while keeping the trains running smoothly."

Both the 7 and 21 July bombers carried rucksack bombs made from homemade explosives easily detectable by scanners. Meanwhile, police have introduced a specialist mobile unit of uniform and undercover officers who patrol stations and trains to watch for possible terror suspects, Mr Johnston said.

Armed anti-terror patrols are likely to be introduced at the new international Eurostar terminal at St Pancras when it opens in 2007, he added.

He also defended the force against plans to disband it so that individual police forces could patrol the transport system.

"I think a single force for the transport network makes sense, it provides a single point of contact for the industry and passengers.

"We have developed specialist skills for dealing with incidents on the railways while the co-operation between the London forces in the aftermath of the July bombings showed that the present system works," he said.

The new CCTV systems can detect unusual behaviour and then alert staff.

BTP has already tested a facial recognition camera at Leicester Square station in an effort to find pickpockets.

And US scientists have now developed a handheld scanner which "sniffs" out traces of explosives. These puff air over a passenger and check for even minute levels of explosives in the air flow.


THE UNCLE of 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer has outraged victims after vowing to turn his nephew's grave into a shrine.

Tahir Pervez, who arranged for the burial in Pakistan, defended the 22-year-old's role in the attacks as "heroic", saying he feels "no sorrow" for any of those killed or injured in the blasts.

Tanweer, who lived in Beeston, Leeds, killed seven at Aldgate station.

John and June Taylor, whose daughter Carrie died at Aldgate, said: "Tanweer is not a martyr. He is murderer."

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.