National Police Air Service (NPAS)

NPAS to use laser protective eyewear to reduce risk of laser attacks

Captain Ollie Dismore, Director of Operations for the National Police Air Service said:

"Continued laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern to the aviation industry.  In an attack, a laser is deliberately or recklessly shone at aircraft, sometimes persistently over a period of several minutes.  The impact on a pilot is, at the very least, dangerously distracting but can be serious enough to cause temporary 'flash' blindness and, in some cases, lasting eye damage.

The frequency of these attacks is at a worrying level with 1532 laser strikes on UK aircraft last year officially reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.  What may seem harmless fun to the perpetrator could potentially have devastating consequences for the crew and passengers in the aircraft and innocent members of the public on the ground.  In the case of police aircraft we are routinely prevented  from going about our business of protecting the public from harm due to these attacks.

Shining laser pens at any transport operator is proposed to become an offence under new legislation to be launched yesterday.  The new law will mean that police will only have to prove the offence of shining the laser and will ultimately make it even safer for aircraft travel both now and into the future.

The National Police Air Service is working with colleagues from across the UK aviation sector in order to manage this risk and to reduce the number of flight crews that become victims of these attacks.  We are in the process of deploying laser protective eyewear for our crews which will allow continued, limited, operations in a laser environment."


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