Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 18:02 UK

Airport stops scans on children

Scanner images
The scanners have been banned for use on children until the law is clarified

Security staff at Manchester Airport have been banned from using new "see-through" security scanners on passengers aged under 18.

The full-body scans, unveiled earlier this month in Terminal 2, are aimed at revealing hidden weapons or explosives, but also show people's bodies.

A civil rights group believes the scans could breach laws protecting children

The scans have been temporarily stopped for young people while legal advice is sought, said the airport.

Action on Rights for Childen (Arch) claim the Rapiscan equipment could break the Protection of Children Act 1978, under which it is illegal to create an indecent image of a child.

This is an issue of law and like everyone Manchester Airport must obey that law
Terri Dowty, director of Arch

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said it was a "grey area" but until the law was clarified under those aged under 18 would face only conventional security checks.

The spokeswoman added: "We certainly aren't going to break any laws in the process of trying to improve the experience of security at Manchester Airport with a voluntary trial.

"If these experts tell us that there might be a problem then we'll work with them to establish a definitive position."

The images produced by the scanners are destroyed straight away, says the airport.

Terri Dowty, director of Arch, said airport bosses responded immediately when the group raised its concerns.

Ms Dowty added: "This is an issue of law and like everyone Manchester Airport must obey that law.

"It is not simply an issue of child protection, but it would very insulting to Manchester Airport staff to say it was over fears of paedophilia."

Arch said it successfully lobbied the Metropolitan Police on using similar scanners on young people in 2002 and the Department of Transport in 2006.

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