What I see when you go through the security scan

Hands up, legs apart and a nice smile for the camera. As part of our security check, every time you travel you'll go through a glass compartment that, in two seconds flat, scans your entire body. People often ask me what I can see of them on my computer screen afterwards.

Yellow patches

My answer is actually very simple. All we can see is the same as what you can see on the small screen next to the scanner: a grey silhouette with yellow patches. These patches indicate if and where objects have been traced on your body. Can you see any yellow patches on the silhouette? Then they're the spots we need to check again manually.

How does it work?

The scanner uses millimetre waves. These waves go through clothing but reflect off your skin and other materials such as plastic, metal, wood, iron, etc. So, for example, have you got an iron clasp on your jumper? Then the waves reflect off your clasp and the computer will signal that there is an object there. This produces a yellow patch on the grey silhouette. The scanner does not take any images of you as a passenger.

Not naked

Therefore, we never see you naked nor do we look through your body. Also note that millimetre waves are not harmful to your health, as confirmed in studies carried out by TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. Everyone can go through the security scan without any health risks, even if you're pregnant or have a pacemaker. Are you still doubtful? If so, you can always opt for an 'old fashioned' manual search instead of the scan!

This is how we make sure that everyone is properly checked and that your trip can get off to a flying start!

By: Naomi, Security staff member G4S.

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