Protecting Aircraft from Lasers: U.K. Officials
The FBI's law enforcement partners in the United Kingdom discuss the problem of lasing aircraft.
Mark Eley, Detective Chief Inspector, UK Metropolitan Police
My name is Mark Eley I’m a detective chief inspector. I work for the (UK) Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard and my responsibility is for aviation security. We work very closely with the FBI because we have similar issues between the UK and the Americans and it’s good to work with the partnership agency that has invested a lot of time and effort into identifying the problems and we’re using that opportunity to share information with them.
Scott Gibbons, Police Constable, UK Metropolitan Police
Hello, I’m Scott Gibbons. I’m a police constable with the Metropolitan Police which is Scotland Yard in London. I’m attached to aviation security. One of the similarities between the UK and the U.S. is the mislabeling of lasers. They’ve become much cheaper over the years much stronger, much more powerful and I think they’re easy to get a hold of.
Mark Callaghan, NPT Inspector, Sussex Police
My name is Mark Callaghan. I’m an inspector with Sussex Police in the UK. When we first looked at how many laser attacks there were on aircraft in the UK, back in 2007 there were 30 reported incidents. In 2013 there were 1,393 so as you can see a tremendous increase over those years. It is a real problem.
When you consider the UK is about the size of California per head that’s a lot of laser strikes that we’re getting which is why we’re taking this so seriously and trying to eradicate this threat to aviation.
There are high instances of youths using lasers in an anti-social manner or as pranks or playing around with them. They’re shining the lasers into the sky and possibly don’t think the laser is actually hitting the aircraft. So, part of our campaign is around educating people that actually it’s not a prank it is a serious matter.
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