Tougher penalties for laser misuse in UK

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The UK Government has introduced new legislation that could see members of the public that target vehicles with lasers face up to five years in prison and unlimited fines.

With incidents of HEMS vehicles being targeted being reported in AMR with worrying regularity, the news of harsher punishment is welcome. Helicopters, trains, planes, cars and boats will all be protected by the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) act, as well as air traffic controllers, which came into force 10 July. Police will also not have to prove that a suspect had intention to endanger a vehicle before prosecuting.

“Lasers, used recklessly, can have very serious, potentially fatal consequences,” Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said. “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 public needs to recognise that lasers are not toys and shining one at an aircraft endangers all those on board and anyone on the ground,” Head of Flight Safety at BALPA Dr Rob Hunter added. “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.”

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