I asked for a hand search at Heathrow. Not only did they refuse, but when they realised the x-ray film bag I was carrying contained film, they insisted on removing the roll films from the bag and passing them through the scanner individually. When I complained the security guard said the scanner was film safe because it was low dose and chucked a photocopy of a Which? Magazine article at me. I tried to point out that the magazine had tested 100 asa colour films in metal cans and he was scanning Delta 3200 in paper - but I would have had more luck trying to explain it to my cat. He would at least try to listen. I think the moral s put them in a metal foil bag and keep quiet.
Actually, I am travelling overseas this week. I could fly, but because I am not going so far, I am going by ferry. This is because ferry companies treat their passengers as customers. Airports treat passengers as criminals.
In regards to your last paragraph, I couldn't have said it better myself!