In the decade since 9/11, airport security has become steadily more stressful and less dignified – but yesterday the Transport Secretary heralded a lighter touch. The current "one-size-fits-all" regime could be eased following Philip Hammond's consultation, with individual airports able to design their own security systems.
Those that invest in new technology could allow, for example, laptops and liquids to remain packed in bags. The check on passengers' shoes could be replaced by dogs trained to sniff out certain types of explosives. However, Britain will still need to adhere to international standards.
The new proposals make no mention of profiling – a controversial technique in which a passenger's behaviour is analysed, and suspicious individuals checked in more depth. There are concerns that young Asian men could be singled out. But supporters of the concept insist that, when properly implemented, profiling is focused on a passenger's behaviour rather than age, race or religion.