Taking action against criminal laser use

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The Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act which received Royal Assent earlier this month will tackle the abuse of lasers being shined or directed to dazzle or distract, and protect pilots, vehicle operators and air traffic controllers.

Having raised in Parliament the issues that have been experienced at Gatwick Airport I welcome action now which introduces tough penalties of up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine for people who target aircraft, road vehicles and boats with lasers.

This has been a growing concern, with airports in the UK last year reporting 989 laser incidents to the Civil Aviation Authority, and Gatwick being the second most affected airport.

Police officers will no longer need to establish proof of intention to endanger a vehicle, aircraft, vessel or air traffic control; making prosecutions swifter and easier.

It is now a punishable offence if the act of shining or directing a laser beam is done deliberately, or without reasonable precautions being taken to avoid doing so.

These measures will make staff and passengers safer at Gatwick and the rest of Britain’s airports.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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