New flight security to single out 'high-risk' passengers

Caroline Cassidy

Airport security is set to get even tougher in the wake of the cargo plane bomb plot and millions of air passengers could face an increasingly tough time if new rules are to take effect.

Theresa May
Theresa May

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The crackdown on 'high-risk' passengers could see searches carried out according to race, ethnicity, age and gender, with criminal convictions, immigration issues and terror links also taken into account.

Those behaving in a suspicious manner or displaying an unusual travel pattern could be subject to tougher security checks and passengers who tick certain boxes, such as arriving from a high-risk country, travelling alone or without a return ticket or luggage, may be singled out.

And Home Secretary Theresa May reportedly refused to rule out the possible introduction of passenger profiling. Should the new rules be implemented, some passengers could find themselves put on Home Office no-fly lists and turned away from airports.

Some may find themselves the subject of enhanced screening (including full body searches) without knowing why.

Theresa May told MPs: "We are in a constant battle with terrorists. They are always looking for another way, another innovative way, in which they can try to get around our defences.

"Our job, and the job of our security and intelligence agencies and the police, is to ensure that we are doing all we can to make sure that there are no gaps in our defences."

However, civil rights groups are likely to be angered by the move, which could see Muslim travellers unfairly targeted by airport security.

And the LibDems, who have made much of their desire to end the "Big Brother" state, are likely to oppose the proposed orders.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary told the Daily Mail: "Every time we have a terrorist scare, the first thing that goes out the window is common sense.

"We in the aviation industry are all for effective security measures such as taking knives off passengers, but we are all opposed to ludicrous and ineffective measures."

What do you think? Are these measures unnecessary or essential given the threat of terrorism? Leave your comments below...