§ Mr. Freeson
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to detect the presence of plastic pistols at airports and other security sensitive points for which he is responsible.
§ Mr. Ridley
My officials follow up all reports of the manufacture of such weapons with the Metropolitan police firearms branch. No operational firearm that is completely plastic or non-metallic has been identified to date. Such weapons as have been examined all have sufficient metal content to register on the metal detectors in use at United Kingdom airports. I am keeping the position under review, however.
Unlike most other states we search a significant proportion of passengers by hand at United Kingdom airports after they have passed through the metal detectors, and this acts as a deterrent against the carrying of realistic non-metallic replica firearms or other kinds of non-metallic patential weapons.