Britain seeks new ways to detect explosives in airports

An airport worker cleans around empty check-in desks in a terminal in Manchester Airport, in England, on April 16, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain launched a fund on Friday (Oct 20) to support new technology to screen hand-luggage in airports in a bid to detect concealed explosives without passengers having to remove electrical items from their bags.

The Department for Transport said 3 million pounds (S$5.35 million) would be made available to support innovation in the detection of hidden explosives, as well as new methods to recognise when electrical items had been tampered with.

"We need to embrace and encourage the talent from industry that will allow us to stay several steps ahead of those who wish us harm," security minister Ben Wallace said in a statement.

Britain joined the United States in imposing a so-called"laptop ban" on certain flights from the Middle East earlier this year, restricting passengers from carrying electronic items in their hand luggage.

The restrictions have been lifted on some flights from Turkey and Tunisia following the introduction of new security measures, but remain in place elsewhere.

The transport department said it would consider funding proposals that focused on screening at airport security areas, as well as portable technology which could be used at other points in a passenger's journey.

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