A police boss has warned of the “reckless” act of shining lasers at police helicopters that could result in the loss of life.
The National Police Air Service’s (NPAS) accountable manager, Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, has moved to remind people of the dangers of lasers following a tweet from NPAS Warton after a man in Skelmersdale was arrested for a laser strike on the NPAS team.
Their tweet included a picture of the laser beam and they reported that they were able to home in on the culprit’s location by following the light where officers on the ground made the arrest.
Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse said: “NPAS aircraft perform vital police tasks.
“Their work can save lives and numerous hours of valuable police time.
“Shining a laser pen at an aircraft not only puts the pilot and the crew in danger, but it can delay the helicopter which may result in serious injury or even the loss of life.
“These are stupid and reckless acts. We will deal robustly with anyone who uses lasers and puts lives at risk.
“We have the necessary technology to be able to identify people involved, and we will and do take firm action against offenders.
“Such offences hold a potential five-year custodial sentence and/or a significant fine.
“People must therefore realise the devastating effects on all involved.
“What might seem like a game will result in them getting a criminal record.
“Real people’s lives are at risk. This is not some kind of computer game.”
The incident happened on May 17 at about 12.45am when the NPAS Warton helicopter was called out to help search for a car with suspected cloned plates that had eluded Skelmersdale Police.
Launched in 2011, West Yorkshire Police is the lead force for NPAS and aim to provide a national, borderless service making use of the nearest aircraft.
It has 23 strategic locations dotted throughout the country and 25 aircrafts on standby 24 hours a day.
The North West has four NPAS bases, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, in North Wales; Hawarden in Cheshire, Barton Moss in Greater Manchester and the Warton base in Lancashire.