National Police Air Service (NPAS)

Laser Pen shone at Police Helicopter

Thursday, 9th January, 2014

A man from Flintshire in North Wales has been sentenced to 5 months (suspended), and ordered to carry out 200 hours community service after he shone a laser pen at a police helicopter.

Kevin Griffiths, 22, of Queens Road, Greenfield, appeared at Mold Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 January and admitted recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft / person in an aircraft.

The incident happened on Wednesday 25th September 2013 at Greenfield, as a National Police Air Service aircraft (NPAS 24) was searching for a high risk missing person.

During the search, the aircraft was persistently targeted by a laser pen, causing the crew to divert their attention away from the vital search for the missing person, endangering the crew of the aircraft and putting people’s lives at risk.

The aircraft located the source of the attack and ground based officers dealt with Griffiths. He had shone the laser pen from hit bedroom window and the incident was recorded. The missing person was subsequently located thanks to the efforts of the aircrew and officers on the ground

The NPAS Accountable Manager Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, said:

"NPAS aircraft perform vital police tasks and their work can save lives and numerous hours of valuable police time.

"When dealing with missing and vulnerable people time can be of critical importance - shining a laser pen at an aircraft not only puts the pilot and the crew in danger but it can also delay the helicopter which may result in serious injury or even the loss of life.

“What Griffiths did was stupid and reckless. We will deal robustly with anyone who uses lasers and puts lives at risk and we have the necessary technology to be able to identify people involved. We will and do take firm action against offenders and put them before the courts.

“Such offences hold a potential five year custodial sentence and/or a significant fine. People must therefore realise the devastating effects on all involved.

“What might seem like a game will result in them getting a criminal record. Real people’s lives are at risk – this is not some kind of computer game.”

Under the National Collaboration Agreement for NPAS, West Yorkshire Police is the lead force and is responsible for the delivery of the service including the centralised aircraft despatch centre based in West Yorkshire.

For non-emergencies dial 101
In an emergency always dial 999