Police and law enforcement now have more powers to catch and prosecute offenders as there is no longer a need to prove intention to endanger a vehicle. Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:
Lasers, used recklessly, can have very serious, potentially fatal consequences. This government has toughened up the law to crack down on this dangerous behaviour. These new laws offer greater protection for operators and passengers alike against irresponsible and reckless laser use.
The tough new legislation was introduced in December and latest figures show the number of laser aviation incidents fell in March to the lowest levels since 2009. Head of Flight Safety at BALPA, Dr Rob Hunter said:
The police now have greater powers, and anyone caught could face 5 years in jail. This legislation removes the need for police officers to establish proof of intention to endanger so people will find it much harder to hide behind the claim they ‘did it by accident. If you have bought a laser for your kids or have one that you don’t really need, we suggest you take the batteries out and throw it away. It’s not worth you, or someone close to you, getting a criminal record for the sake of what is mistakenly believed to be a toy.