On 10th July the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018 came into force.
Under this new law it is a crime to shine or direct a laser beam that dazzles or distracts, or is likely to dazzle or distract, air traffic controllers, pilots, captains of boats and drivers of road vehicles.
The Offence of shining or directing a laser beam towards a vehicle is committed if
1(a) The person shines or directs a laser beam toward a vehicle which is moving or ready to move, and
(b) The laser beam dazzles or distracts, or is likely to dazzle or distract, a person with control of the vehicle
Offences relating to air traffic services are committed if:
1(a) if the person shines or directs a laser beam
(i) towards an air traffic facility
(ii) towards a person providing air traffic services
Offenders face much tougher penalties of up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Thanks to Richard Goodwin (London City) for keeping us all in the loop on this one and supporting legislators on behalf of UKAPC. He and others are just finalising the guidance and we will send this out in due course.
There are two clear implications:
1) That all laser attacks on vehicles now become reportable and recordable under Home Office Counting Rules. This might remove some of the mismatch in approach across the country.
2) It triggers the power of entry as it is indictable.
Please can I ask you to speak to your Force Crime Registrars on this matter to ensure that the offences are recorded.