Monday, February 22, 2016

Nairn Flightpath laser-pen risk - MSP John Finnie calls for urgent action

A press release from John Finnie MSP:

"The Nairn area’s position under the flightpath for Inverness Airport puts it at risk from laser-pen attacks on aircraft, local MSP John Finnie has warned.

The Highlands and Islands MSP has called on the Scottish Government to tighten the law on lasers, after the area’s search-and-rescue helicopter was targeted [1] and a London to New York flight was aborted in laser attacks.

He has written to the Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, and to the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, requesting an urgent review of the law on the sale and possession of laser pens. He also called for improved technology to enable police to identify culprits and protect aircraft.

Mr Finnie said:

“The danger posed by laser pen attacks on aircraft is not a new one, but they do seem to be increasingly frequent and more powerful lasers are more easily available than ever before.

“Just a fortnight before the widely-reported incident on Sunday that forced a Virgin Atlantic flight to turn back, the Coastguard helicopter operating from Inverness Airport was targeted while conducting a search.

“Good fortune and expert flying skills prevented what could have been a major disaster.

“Aircraft using Inverness Airport circle low over Nairn, making this one of the areas most at risk if the worst were to happen. We must not wait for a catastrophic loss of life before taking action on this dangerous crime.

“I’ve asked the Justice Secretary and the Lord Advocate to undertake an urgent review of the law. The law must reflect the seriousness of this crime and its horrific potential consequences and it must address the wide availability of powerful lasers.

“I’m also calling for a multi-agency effort to improve our technical ability to locate the source of laser-pen attacks.”

A former Northern Constabulary police officer, John Finnie is the Scottish
John Finnie MSP
Greens national spokesperson on justice. He has been a Highlands and Islands MSP since 2011 and is the lead Green Party candidate in the forthcoming Scottish election.

1. Laser pen shone at rescue helicopter during search for missing man, STV, 2 February 2016: "

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