X-ray cameras could be installed on lampposts on British streets to spot armed terrorists and other criminals, it has been claimed.
According to a leaked memo seen by The Sun, “detection of weapons and explosives will become easier” if the scheme drawn up by Home Office officials is adopted.
However, officials acknowledged it would be highly controversial as the cameras can “see” through clothing.
“The social acceptability of routine intrusive detection measures and the operational response required in the event of an alarm are likely to be limiting factors,” the memo warned.
“Privacy is an issue because the machines see through clothing.”
The Sun said the memo, dated January 17, was drawn up by the Home Office for the Prime Minister’s working group on security crime and justice.
It noted some technologies used for airport security had already been used in police operations searching for drugs and weapons in nightclubs.
“These and other could be developed for a much more widespread use in public places,” it said.
“Street furniture could routinely house detection systems that would indicate the likely presence of a gun, for example.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We don’t comment on leaked documents”.