A police helicopter has been targeted in a laser attack while responding to a call in South Wales
The National Police Air Service crew were responding to a call in South Wales when a laser pen was shone on the helicopter.
The NPAS, which supplies police forces in England and Wales with air support, said the St Athan-based crew was hampered by the incident.
Ollie Dismore, the 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.
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"In an attack, a laser pointer is deliberately or recklessly shone at airborne aircraft, sometimes persistently over a period of minutes.
Continued laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern to the aviation industry
Ollie Dismore – National Police Air Service
"The impact on a pilot is at the very least distracting, but can be serious enough to cause temporary 'flash' blindness and in some cases lasting eye damage."
The NPAS said 1,380 laser attacks on aircraft were reported to the Civil Aviation Authority last year.
"What may seem harmless fun to the culprit could potentially have devastating consequences for the crew and passengers in the aircraft, innocent members of the public on the ground as well as potentially causing harm to those police aircraft are there to protect because we cannot go about our business," Mr Dismore said.
'Laser attacks on aircraft worldwide is a source of serious concern', says Dismore from NPAS
Shining laser pens at any transport operator is proposed to become an offence under new legislation
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"Shining laser pens at any transport operator is proposed to become an offence under new legislation.
"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 in the future.
"The NPAS 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 currently conducting a laser protective eyewear trial which we hope will better support us to protect our staff against this threat in future."
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