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UK Department of Transport Guidance

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UNITED KINGDOM – The police in the United Kingdom have carried out a major counter-terrorism operation last week to disrupt what is believed to be a major threat to the UK and international parties, in particular flights from the UK to the USA. The operation was based in the UK following sustained co-operation with the Security Service and international partners.{{more}}

The decision to take action was an operational matter for the police and the Security Service, taken with the full support of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport. Prime Minister Tony Blair briefed US President George Bush on the operation and the Home Secretary and Transport Secretary have been in close contact with the US Homeland Security Secretary and Transportation Secretary.

The police are investigating the alleged plot to bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions and cause considerable loss of life. To do everything possible to minimise the ongoing risk, the threat level was raised to the highest level (see below). The police and security services are confident these alleged plots were planned over many, many months.

Following police action, security at all UK airports was increased and additional security measures were put in place for all flights.

All cabin baggage must be processed as hold baggage and carried in the hold of passenger aircraft departing UK airports.

Passengers may take through the airport security search point, in a single (ideally transparent) plastic carrier bag, only the following items. Nothing may be carried in pockets:

• pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (for example money, credit cards, identity cards etc (not handbags));

• travel documents essential for the journey (for example passports and travel tickets);

• prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (eg, diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.

• spectacles and sunglasses, without cases.

• contact lens holders, without bottles of solution.

• for those travelling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags).

• female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes).

• tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs

• keys (but no electrical key fobs)

All passengers must be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they are carrying must be x-ray screened.

Pushchairs and walking aids must be x-ray screened, and only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the screening point.

In addition to the above, all passengers boarding flights to the USA and all the items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, must be subjected to secondary search at the boarding gate. Any liquids discovered must be removed from the passenger.

If passengers have any questions on their travel arrangements or security in place at airports they should contact their airline or carrier.

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