back to article Illegal immigrants spared the gamma-ray scanner

The French have banned Brit border guards at Calais from deploying immigrant-hunting gamma-ray scanners, claiming they breach EU health and safety regulations and can only be used with the intended targets' written permission. According to the Evening Standard, the scanners have proved somewhat successful in cutting the numbers …

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Anonymous Coward

"... we can't see what the problem is."

The problem is that the Frenchers don't want them in France either.

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Unhappy

The French

Good old French mess anybody else from stopping them leaving France as they cannot stop them getting in there country.

Human rights and all that.

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Coat

RE: tarded

That is all.

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Black Helicopters

It's ok, no problems...

Because as soon as they get here, they will register for an ID Card (they have to, it's the RULES!), as they are foreign nationals. This will immediately trigger alarm bells within our super-efficient borders apparatus, and they will be swiftly removed from our shores without any undue problems, and at no cost to the UK taxpayer. Preferably back to France.

No, really, that's what the ID Card programme will do! Gordy Broon said so!

</pissed off rant from a Canadian living in the UK, who will have to carry a frikkin' ID Card by the end of this year>

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They might be useful ...

... in Swedish coach stations, of course.

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Stop

France for the French, as usual

The "H&S" argument is most likely just a cover for the real reason the French don't want us catching illegal immigrants in Calais: if they're discovered in France, they have to apply for asylum/immigration/whatever in *France*, thus making them their problem, rather than ours. If the French government can see to it that they're safely out of France (ie they make it to the UK), then normal SEP[1] rules apply.

Also, given that the French have more nuclear reactors than just about anyone else in the world, they shouldn't be worried about an eensy-weensy bit of gamma radiation...

[1] Someone Else's Problem

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Dead Vulture

Repurpose the scanners

Simply claim that the purpose of the scanners is to find smuggled livestock such as endangered birds or mammals. The fact that it turns up people as well is simply a coincidence.

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Coat

Shocking!

The French using a dirty underhand trick that makes like easier for them at the expense of the UK? That almost never happens all the time.

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Black Helicopters

Simple

Make sure that to get into the UK each lorry must have on it a sticker that says:

By stowing away on the vehicle I consent to being irradiated.

in lots of languages.

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Dead Vulture

French what more needs to be said

Bloody French

Nothing more needs to be said really.

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"less than a thousandth of the background radiation"

Wouldn't it be better to use a much higher density?

Then if someone glows in the dark, they are an illegal immigrant. (Or has the jellyfish gene)

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@ Mike Crawshaw

Your best bet is to go out and commit a crime, get arrested and then they'll lose all track of you so you won't need to register.

Alternatively, just perfect the British accent of your choice and if anyone stops you, tell them you're a citizen.

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Pirate

How about...

Okay, fair enough... We nuke them at our border instead.

Then we deport them instantly back to the country who's border they last illegally crossed, so that's France... But just to piss off the Frenchies, we don't drop them in Calais, cos they'll just be back on the next lorry, so we drop them somewhere else in France... I'm thinking somewhere posh, south coast, nice weather.

Alternatively, is there an EU limit to CO2 exposure? Probably not... So we just need a nice truck sized air-lock, with an audio announcement saying "Get out now or you will die", then after the driver has left his cab, we shut the doors and fill it up. I'm sure we can find a legit reason to do this, maybe "discover" black death on some French rats, which of course we wouldn't want running about over here.

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Coat

Best as deterrent value,...

Dial the scanner up to 11 thousand on the volume knob and stop checking for any positives on the screen. Soon you will be able to spot an illegal immigrant in the UK, their hair and teeth will be falling out at an impressive rate.

PS. No, I am not German, but the company I work for is.

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Consent

Surely the solution is to bang on the side of the van and say "If you don't consent to being scanned, get out now." Wait 1 minute then scan the van. Am I missing something, or should I be a highly paid consultant to the Border and Immigration Agency?

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Go

What a ludicrous argument

You can't use scanners to check that there are no people where there should be no people, without the written permission of those people.

Idiotic Frenchness.

If they weren't illegally there in the first place then they wouldn't be exposed to any gamma rays would they.

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Anonymous Coward

chas ponsford==aManFromMars??

On a different note...

"emit less radiation than ordinary hospital X-rays" Would these be the same X-rays that one is carefully positioned for with all parts not needing X-raying carefully covered in lead sheets while the operator leaves the room entirely?

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Anonymous Coward

Since there's supposed to be no-one in the back

surely you'd just need the permission of the truck driver ?

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Nev

Nice bunch o' Little Englanders on here...

Suffocating stowaways or exposing them to a lethal dose of gamma radiation.

Nice.

So glad I left England, 'cause it now seems to be full of twats.

To answer the question as to why the UK seems to be dependent on others to secure it's borders, one only has to look at the incompetents @ uk.gov.

No need to blame other countries' governments.

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Pirate

I may be wrong

But isn't part of Dover still considered French soil for the purpose passport checks etc? Can we not somehow check them on that bit? Maybe put the scanners up against the edge, and make drivers travel til the very back of the truck is still on french soil but the rest is scanned? Then, when the immigrants get out, they're still on French soil and aren't our problem?

Or we could just start tasering the side of trucks to see if they scream?

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Silver badge
Boffin

Don't worry it's completely harmless, said a voice from a long way away.

So this scanner is perfectly OK because it delivers "less than a thousandth of the background radiation" they would get in a year.

It presumably delivers this in about a second or so as it sweeps by.

That's a *lot* of radiation.

It's something around thirty thousand times the normal background.

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Coat

@ Nev

England only pretended to be full of twats so you'd leave.

I believe you left your sense of humour in this coat pocket

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Pirate

Consent from whom?

As others have pointed out, if they aren't there, they can't consent. Surely all they need is the permission of the lorry driver to check.

The other approach is to do just what the hell we want and ignore our European comrades. That's what Pierre would do.

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Unhappy

Nev

The reason the UK needs to be dependent on others to secure its borders is simple - once they get here we can neither find them nor deport them because we don't know where they are and we don't know where they came from.

I'm all in favour of illegal immigration, but I think it should be incredibly difficult so that only the cream of the crop make it to the UK. That kind of natural selection should improve the UK gene-pool markedly over time.

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@ Nev

"'cause it now seems to be full of twats."

It's always been full of them, but now they have the internet. ;)

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Thumb Up

I like!

"Simply claim that the purpose of the scanners is to find smuggled livestock such as endangered birds or mammals. The fact that it turns up people as well is simply a coincidence."

"Make sure that to get into the UK each lorry must have on it a sticker that says:

By stowing away on the vehicle I consent to being irradiated.

in lots of languages."

Very good! I think we should do it, not least because it would piss the French off.

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Silver badge

The French might as well start laying on free flights.

Scan the lorries on the ferry in international waters. Find any illegals then don't let the lorry off and send it back to France.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Anonymous Coward

It's 10 times the does of an XRAY

I call bullshit on that, those scanners are the ones they use to XRay cargo. They can see through very thick steel plate, and very easily through metal sided trucks. The ones used in the hospitals are much smaller and can only see through soft tissue.

They don't let the driver stay in the truck. There is a 16-24 meter wide exclusion zone around it while it's scanning.

http://hpschapters.org/ncchps/Inspection_Systems_at_POE.pdf

"Penetrability of 159-mm and 102- mm thick steel"

They say a stowaway gets only 20 micro rems dosage from the mobile VACIS but when I go to check that, I find this:

When I check the USA FDA site, it says up to 100 μSv which is 10 MILLIrems, not 20 MICROrems. They've taken the MINIMUM DOSE when the stowaway is shielded behind the thickest grade steel.

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/AC/03/briefing/3987b1_pres-report.pdf

That's 10 times more than getting your broken arm XRayed:

http://www.ans.org/pi/resources/dosechart/

So fair enough, if the Daily Mail, or the Foreign office don't like it, they can prove the safety by putting their kids in the truck before it goes through the scanner. Otherwise the French are right. It's not safe to zap people with that and you're being misled.

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@Nev

As the first sentence of the article indicates, it is British immigration officals (not French) who are stationed at the French end of the tunnel. Immigration formalities are completed before you enter the tunnel, to save time at the other end. This is true at both ends - the French have their officials stationed at the UK end of the tunnel.

The French are saying that British officials cannot use British-owned equipment to check people entering Britain.

Of course, if the French can get any such irradiated illegal immigrants to present themselves to the relevant officials in Brussels, I'm sure they would also be happy to provide them with the neccessary travel documents in order to make the trip to Brussels... :-)

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Black Helicopters

@Luke Wells

You break the law, you DON'T lose your rights.

Thats the whole point dude and something people in this country have fought for since the star chamber days. I understand your pathetic knowledge of politics and history is probably due to an over active geek gene or something, but really. If you have never heard of habeas corpus then maybe now is the time to look into it, as its seriously under threat.

As an aside if you lost your rights when you broke the law then I for one would be currently hiding out in small tent in Cornwall (maybe, maybe not. Why you asking ?)

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Anonymous Coward

@Racism

"As others have said, of course the _real_ reason that France has banned these devices is because they don't want any illegals being stopped in France and the hassle that goes with it."

They let you check the trucks on the French side. They don't need to do that. If they didn't want you stop them on the French side then they wouldn't let you run the checks on French soil and you would only be able to check them after they entered the UK.

"Now France tell us that we are not allowed to look for illegals BEFORE they have actually entered our country.... and we sit back and take it."

The CO2 probe works very well, they just don't want you irradiating people. The dosage claimed by the scanner makers is a deception. Your rabid racism is being used to manipulate you.

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Anonymous Coward

It's 10 times the does of an XRAY

"Otherwise the French are right. It's not safe to zap people with that and you're being misled."

Most informative and thankyou and all that old chap but quite frankly we couldn't give a toss, zap the buggers.

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Maybe the reason is...

That the French believe illegal immigrants, despite breaking the law, are still human and have a right not to be nuked, gassed or otherwise hurt. Countries that have bills of rights tend to be funny that way.

Many of the stowaways probably can't even understand English. That ignorance is not justification for a death sentence.

From the tenor of the comments in this thread, I am surprised nobody suggested using Zyklon B yet.

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Silver badge

The EU factor

See, if this was just a regular border problem we wouldn't be having this mess. The problem is the EU: if the French, or anyone else, decides they want to mess in their neighbour's affairs they just have to go the ECJ and say something about human rights. I grant this works both ways in theory though, given France's record on obeying EU rules, regs and judgements, it might not be so easy in practice...

If the EU wasn't there we could simply tell the French to toss off and carry on protecting our borders with any number of high power radiation guns.

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Jobs Horns

Cross-Pond Solidarity

Yank viewpoint - it's bad enough when the politicians manufacture the crisis in order to gain power from a frightened populace, since it is at least possible to see the falsity of the situation. Here, (and no finger pointing coming from me, since our own set of dipsticks has allowed an equally bad, if not worse, situation to develop over here), they have allowed a *real* crisis to take place. The situation is so bad that a verifiable proof of legal residency is now a reasonable response. Oy! (Can of worms caused by the word 'verifiable' in the preceeding sentence is noted and purposefully avoided).

{IT angle - or at least, tech angle - as for the actual radiation... are gamma rays used in common devices which are used or encountered by the general public? If not, then I admit to a lot of uncertainty regarding safe levels. Physicists, please respond. Is all radiation created equal? That is, is a dosage of X intensity for Y duration of X-rays equally as hazardous as the same dose in gamma rays or neutrons? I don't mind causing illegals discomfort (say, to the level of tear gas etc.) during detection, but permanent damage goes too far for me.}

BTW, is the gamma ray device so much better than heat sensors? If it is, then full speed ahead (oh, and don't forget to arrest the driver and impound the truck - sell it at auction to reimburse the government for a small portion of the expenses and sentence the driver to street cleaning or other community service in neighborhoods known to be illegal sanctuaries).

{Paris Hilton angle - see if irradiating her with Gamma particles will turn her into the She-Hulk - that's hot!}

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Stop

You're all wrong

Clearly, this has nothing to do with immigration, and everything to do with self preservation.

Anyone with even basic science knowledge knows that if you hit someone with a large burst of gamma radiation, it causes deep cellular mutation, and before you know it, you have hugely muscled green men rampaging through France, causing havoc (and occasionally rescuing a small baby.)

This sort of thing can't be accepted, think of the losses to the Wine industry when these 'Hulks' get thirsty! It would definitely be the end of all we hold dear about France.

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@ bluesxman

Well done, lad, well done.

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Flame

@AC - zap the buggers

I care. Its called humanity and you have obviously been interfacing with your laptop too much. I would prefer that to the blatant daily mail-esque racism which seems to manifest itself in Little England.

At the moment the caricature in Little Britain where that old churchgoer throws up repeatedly on the mention that the scone she is eating was made by a black person, well, that's you that is .... old chap.

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Coat

I thought people only tried to get into the United States illegally

Grabs coat, runs...

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Go

So do it to *everyone*

Install some scanners at the ferry terminals in the UK. Require *everyone* to sign an authorization form saying that they accept that they *may* be scanned (it's not practical to do 100% coverage) on entry/return to the UK, including day trippers, holiday makers etc. Voilà, instant radiation-inspired-paranoia-driven boycott of French ferry ports.

Then wait 'til the Calais beer & wine shop owners start screaming that no-one's coming to shop any more, and tell them to lobby their local "deputé"...

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@AC

"quite frankly we couldn't give a toss, zap the buggers."

which buggers, you're frankly so stupid it would be a pleasure but you see they are scanning which means everyone will get a dose everyone who works there will be getting irradiated while the illegals will only get it once or twice which means everyone but the immigrants will be getting leukemia and other cancers. The difference between gamma rays and x-ray is the amount of shit they can penetrate, gamma rays penetrate better than x-ray's so unless you have literally five feet of concrete between you and the emitter you are getting some.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nev

Britain actually has a very relaxed entry requirement, probably fair easier for Nev to get into Britain from his chosen abode than it was for him to get to there.

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Pirate

There is no safe dose of ionizing radiation

Now far from me to advocate illegal immigration, but just as a quick heads up: there is _no_ "safe" dose of ionizing radiation. It only takes one DNA strand being bumped in the right place to turn a normal cell into the start of a cancer tumour.

What is considered "safe" is, well, just a matter of statistics. Some doses are very unlikely to kill you. But in the end, it's still like playing Russian Roulette, even if with a 1000-chamber revolver. Do it with enough people and someone _will_ eventually find that lucky round.

Yes, the human body has to deal with _some_ background radiation all the time, you get several thousand DNA breaks per year just due to C14 decay, etc. And indeed the body has evolved to be able to deal with most such events. We're good at repairing DNA damage, and have other defense mechanisms too that should kick in if that failed.

But, nevertheless:

1. It's still a probability that that repair will go wrong. There are probably thousands of cancers each year due to even that background radiation and normal DNA accidents.

As they say, if you're one in a million, there are 6000 just like you. Even incredibly small chances start to happen, given a large enough population.

Adding extra radiation just makes this probability go up. There is no point until which it's zero, and after which it's suddenly deadly. It's a slow proportional increase, and all we can do is pick an arbitrary point below which the probability of cancer is still low enough.

2. There's a high variability among people, when it comes to that probability.

E.g., the Human papillomavirus already re-codes the exact protein that keeps the cells from multiplying out of control, to something non-functional. Any infected cell (e.g., those in warts) is this close to cancer as it is, and only needs a tiny extra bump to become a real cancer. A lot become cancers more or less on their own (or rather, including because of background radiation DNA damage, UV DNA damage, replication errors, etc). Adding radiation just increases the risk.

E.g., we already know that the smokers are at a higher cancer risk in a lot more areas than lung and larinx cancer. Even the HPV mentioned above has a higher risk of turning into all-out cancer in a smoker than in a non-smoker.

E.g., cells which are currently dividing, are at a higher risk. That's why radiotherapy/chemotherapy causes your hair to fall, for example: there are some cells dividing permanently there, and they take the most damage. The same would apply to someone with a flu, or a healing wound, or whatever, though. Any situation where the body has to heal a lot of damage, means more cells currently dividing, which means more cells vulnerable to that gamma ray burst.

What I'm trying to say is that that probability isn't the same in everyone. Radiation levels which would be a very very improbable to give one person cancer, may be less improbable in another person.

3. Not all radiation is the same, so the comparison to hospital X-rays can be misleading, unless it's the exact same wavelength. Some radiation types can have barely enough energy to break one DNA strand in their path (e.g., UV), while others can cut a path of double DNA breaks from entry point to exit point, and/or accelerate protons they bump into and have those break a lot of stuff in their path.

There's a reason why radiotherapy is experimenting with different types and sources of radiation. Again, because not all radiation is created equal.

Now I'm not saying that these gamma ray machines are necessarily more dangerous than the X-ray machines in hospitals. I don't have enough data to make that kind of judgment. (Though if they can penetrate that much steel, at a very wild guess, I would bet on "more dangerous" anyway.) But you can't just compare rems that way.

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Anonymous Coward

@graeme dawson

Ah. The EU angle. I knew them pesky eurocrats would be behind it somewhere. Oh. and the French. And the immigrants.

Except - this ruling applies to English officers looking for immigrants on French soil. Something that would be damn near impossible without the EU. If I read the article correctly there would be nothing to stop the english doing it on their own soil.

Incidentally - does anyone know - would gamma rays be any more dangerous to someone with a pre-existing condition ? Or children - especially the unborn variety. Or is it a case of 'they are illegals, they deserve it. Innit"

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Stop

If I was France....

...I would tell the UK to take their juxtaposed controls and scurry back over the channel where they can nuke and scan as many illegal immigrants as they please AFTER they've entered UK territory.

I find the very concept of juxtaposed immigration controls to be unfair and in bad taste. Why should some wanker in a Home Office gimp suit decide, on French territory, whether or not I can enter my own country? And why are the French so compliant? It would be in their best interests to not allow the UK to check people while still on French territory.

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Pirate

Gamma rays = illegal hulks

Great, zap the people with gamma rays. Look what happened to that David Banner bloke. Just ask Mr McGee about all the shit that he caused, living on the edge of society, not paying tax, somehow managing to have money...

Enter Banners' mind---> I just woke up on a beach with only my ripped jeans, and all this cash was in my pocket - don't know where it came from, must be some nice person giving to tramps again. I think I will move on from here, it's a bit rough. Look what happened the other night with all that violence, on the same night that ATM was ripped out out of the wall in an unrelated incident! <---- Exit Banners' mind.

What happens if we try to deport them and they get angry?

What happens if we say no to letting them in to our country, and they get angry?

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Stop

@Fazal Majid

"Countries that have bills of rights tend to be funny that way."

Ah, that old chestnut. The English Bill of Rights was passed in 1689, a full century before the French one, and much of its content was reused in the amendments of the US constitution, so we got there a LONG way first.

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