Majority of passengers support new security technology at UK airports

1 August 2012 (Last Updated August 1st, 2012 18:30)

A 64% majority of British passengers support the adoption of new technology at UK airports to improve security, according to a new study.

A 64% majority of British passengers support the adoption of new technology at UK airports to improve security, according to a new study.

The survey, conducted by online polling firm YouGov for SAS, revealed that the majority of respondents support using technology to assess the potential risk passengers present, if it resulted in reduced queues and enhanced security.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 British adults, found that only 9% would oppose technology trials at airports for security checks.

SAS public security director Joanne Taylor said that the survey shows the British public are open to the authorities exploring an alternative to existing blanket checks.

"These checks, where all passengers are subject to the same rigorous procedures, have resulted in long delays and have not made us any more efficient at identifying illegal immigrants or high-risk individuals," Taylor said.

"The survey revealed that the majority of respondents support using technology to assess the potential risk passengers present, if it resulted in reduced queues and enhanced security."

The survey also showed that support for the initiative grows with more elderly people supporting the trials than younger people.

41% of passengers within the 25 to 34 age group would support the trials, with 15% opposing, while 69% of the 55 and overs would support the trials and 5% opposing.

With blanket checks going on, queue times have been identified as an issue for many passengers at border crossing points, with 29% of British adults travelling abroad labelling the experience as frustrating.

Around 40% of those surveyed said they were in a queue for 15 minutes or less, while 17% were in a queue for more than 30 minutes.

The survey also revealed that 52% of all British adults who flew outside the UK felt that long queues at Britain's airports would create a negative tourist perception for the country, while 15% of adults said it would have a very negative impact.

"In contrast, risk profiling, which uses intelligence, data analytics and behavioural modelling to assess the risk individuals pose, can actually significantly enhance protection, cutting queues while detecting more high-risk individuals coming into the UK," Taylor added.