HC Deb 14 June 1988 vol 135 c125W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how long it has been necessary for outgoing passengers' cameras at Heathrow, which are not submitted for X-ray examination, to be emptied of film for manual inspection; why this requirement was imposed,; what information he has as to what other British airports and which other countries require this procedure; what international agreement has taken place on this procedure; and what discussions were held with(a) the National Union of Journalists and (b) the film industry before the requirement was imposed.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

The United Kingdom aviation security programme, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State administers, has required for many years that security staff at United Kingdom airports must ensure that all items of passengers' hand luggage are either screened by X-ray machine or examined physically to the extent necessary to satisfy the staff that the article does not contain any weapons or explosive. This is entirely in accordance with the international aviation security standards drawn up by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. In some cases it may be necessary for the staff to open the film compartment of cameras in order to meet this requirement. The requirement is such a fundamental part of the aviation security programme that it is unlikely to be possible to relax it significantly in the near future. I am, however, prepared to consider any proposals which interested organisations might have for ways to reduce the likelihood of it being necessary for the security staff to open the film compartment in cameras in order to meet the requirement.