Yet more 'joined up government'.
The latest entry for the idiots' gallery is a proposal for 'airport-style security screening at certain railway stations. source.
Douglas Alexander reckons that "the public see the need for increased security and generally find the processes used in the trials to be acceptable". Not that he saw fit to back this up with any of the “extensive social research” carried out. Tests were carried out at some main line stations, plus Greenford (?!)
Quite apart from the civil liberties issue, there are immense practical problems in terms of making this an operational reality. If there are security checks at the main stations, the self-detonating community will take it upon themselves to use other stations. If every station in the country is to have scanners, that will mean expenditure running into astronomical figures, plus a minimum of two goons manning each booth. Probably more. While there might be an argument for these costs being passed on to the general public, far more likely is that the costs will be loaded onto ticket prices, thus adding expense to ever greater delays at rail and tube stations. Net result, ever more people decide that they have had enough of travelling by cattle class and opt to use cars. So much for an integrated transport policy, let alone saving the planet.
Back to our self-detonaters etc, will they be screened at the entrance, or at the ticket barriers? If the former, there will need to be an awful lot of pavement freed up, and if the latter, why bother boarding a train to cause carnage if you can set off your bomb in a station concourse jammed with irritated travellers. As it stands, I hate to think what a well placed nail bomb could achieve on the concourse of any main railway station at rush hour before this proposal actually goes anywhere.