A SNIFFER dog would be more effective at preventing terrorism at the Scottish Parliament than spending millions on “daft” hi-tec security measures, an expert has claimed.
The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) has given the thumbs-up to a controversial £6.5m security annex designed to combat suicide-bombers.
But a former parliament security chief said the plans are a waste of money and the problem could be solved simply by banning rucksacks and bringing in spaniel sniffer dogs.
The expert, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Putting a glass box entrance, no matter how tough into that space is daft.
“There are good reasons why the parliament sits back from the road like it does.
“Banning back-packs having a trained spaniel sniffing everyone approaching the building would be a cheap, effective alternative.”
At the moment visitors from all around the world congregate underneath the main debating chamber before being checked by security.
The new measures would mean people are screened before they can even enter the building.
Ruairidh Moir, an architectural student who is heading the protest against the move, has written to the SPCB urging it halts the construction that started last week.
Mr Moir quoted guidance from the Royal Incorporation of British Architects that recommends a distance of 30m between the building and the road.
He said: “The proposed new doorway is 15m from the road. Although the extension may incorporate blast extension it is not uncommon for visitors to need to queue outside the main doorway.
“Thus this news entrance clearly breaches the these codes and is putting the lives of visitors at increased risk.”
Mr Moir explained that while the new annex might prevent an individual would-be terrorist, it is so close to the main building that if a car-bomb were to be used then it would still have a devastating impact.
The campaigner has also received no response from the SPCB.
He added: “Distance from the road is key and their silence is deafening. It’s almost as if they had not thought about it and they are maybe realising what they have approved is a compete mistake.
“I know they have started already but the right thing for them to do is to stop it.”
An SPCB spokesman acknowledged the points that were raised in protest of the new security plans.
The spokesman said: “The SPCB has received authoritative expert security advice on protecting public safety at Holyrood.
“A range of potential locations for the new public entrance were considered in detail before the current position was agreed upon.”