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Public Attitudes to Airports Security: The Case of Whole Body Scanners

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 229-243
Timothy Mitchener-Nissen; Kate Bowers; Kevin Chetty
Date Published
July 2012
15 pages
This study engages with the public to identify and assess methods for improving the operation of whole body security scanners within UK airports.
The study examined the reasons why individuals prefer either body scans or pat-downs. The study also measures the effects of presenting passengers unbiased information about scanners at the screening checkpoint. The key findings are as follows. There was high public acceptance of body scanners (greater than 90 per cent) and a strong preference for them over pat-downs (greater than 80 per cent) with scanners perceived as less intrusive than pat-downs and a quicker option. Presenting passengers with information on backscatter X-ray scanners resulted in significant positive increases in their overall favorability towards this technology and its current operation. Study models also show that presenting information about scanners combined with undertaking a scan results in the greatest probability a passenger will voluntarily opt for a scan. This has implications for airport security, which is discussed. (Published Abstract)