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Pilots welcome extending stop and search powers to help tackle laser and drone crime

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has responded to the Government announcement on increased stop and search powers for police, which includes a focus to help to tackle laser attacks on aircraft and those flying drones irresponsibly near airfields.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:

“We welcome the Government’s consultation on extending stop and search powers to cover laser and drone offences. In our view, this is essential if the new offences contained in the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018 are to be effectively enforced and the drone threat tackled.

“The number of laser attacks on aircraft, and the increasing strength of lasers, remains a considerable concern for pilots. Attacking aircraft with a laser is extremely dangerous and could have catastrophic consequences.

“We believe that police powers in this area must be extended in order to effectively deal with this threat. Lasers are a powerful and potentially deadly weapon and should be treated as such.

“The increasing number of drones in the airspace has been accompanied by a rise in irresponsible drone flying and near-misses with manned aircraft, putting passengers’ lives at needless risk. This needs to be tackled on a number of fronts, but ensuring the police have the powers to stop and search for drone offences is an important one.”