These six full body security scanners were purchased by the EU in 2005 at a cost in excess of £100,000 each. They have never been used and were ordered without consultation. These machines have been left to rot on pallets in a disused garage in the depths of the parliament building. It was quite a task to locate them with security trying to twart me and pass the buck!
I have made it a task this year especially to identify waste, corruption and irresponsible use of taxpayers money in these times of extreme austerity. This is another example of the waste and mismanagement in the European Union, indeed, taxpayer subsidised bureaucracy. This is only a small portion of the £50 million a day the UK gives the EU but it is endemic of how the EU is fundamentally flawed. It beggars belief that these unelected bureaucrats purchased the most expensive machines available at the time, they seem impervious to economic realities.
MEP's put their their own self importance ahead of the security in the parliament with many refusing to undergo the simplest of security checks led the campaign to stop the use of these machines in the parliament which are in use in 70 airports across Europe including Manchester and London Heathrow.
Security in the parliament is a great cause for concern following three robbery's in a many years and a journalist managing to smuggle in a toy gun and stand yards away from Prince Charles on his recent visit, bureaucrats are running around like headless chickens looking for someone to blame often picking on the lowest in the chain.
It looks like a national Sunday newspaper will be taking the story up which is why I have have delayed publishing this story that I have been working on this week.
Airports may get body scanners MEPs won’t use
Six body scanners bought by the European parliament at a cost of more than £500,000 to improve security at its headquarters in Brussels and Strasbourg have never been used because MEPs objected to the invasion of privacy.
Scanners bought by the European parliament at a cost of more than £500,000 to improve security at its headquarters have never been used
The scanners, which emit low-level x-rays to show images of people naked, have been mothballed in a basement for six years.
Yet MEPs have now asked the European commission to consider the use of body scanners at all airports across Europe. This could lead to passengers being compelled to undergo body imaging before being allowed to fly.
The revelation comes after a series of security breaches at the parliament in Brussels. Last month a French journalist smuggled in an imitation firearm during a visit by Prince Charles to highlight the lax security. There have also been three armed robberies within the confines of the parliament building, leading some MEPs to condemn the security system as a "farce".
Nikki Sinclaire, MEP for the West Midlands, said: "MEPs put their own self-importance ahead of security in the parliament, with many refusing to undergo the simplest of security checks. Security is a great cause for concern." The scanners — Rapiscan Secure 1000s — were bought in 2005 at a cost of 725,730 euros (£621,000).
The same model is being used at Manchester and Heathrow airports as well as about 70 others in the US. It works by peppering a passenger with very weak radiation in order to project an x-ray image of them on to a viewing screen. This depicts any concealed objects as well as showing intimate areas of the body.
At the time of their purchase, the European parliament was opposed to the use of body scanners in airports. In 2009 MEPs voted to sell the scanners it had bought. Despite slashing the asking price, no buyers have come forward.
The commission has been tasked with considering the use of body scanners. One option is to make them mandatory at all airports. Airports in the EU are now allowed to use the scanners only in an authorised trial of the equipment or in response to a higher threat risk.
Many MEPs still have reservations over the use of the scanners because of human rights issues and possible health risks. EU policy is expected to be decided by July this year.
A spokesman for the European parliament said: "The scanners were bought following September 11, 2001, when the parliament was looking at security measures. They were never intended to be used routinely."