UK CAA seeks arrest for carrying laser pointers

UK CAA seeks arrest for carrying laser pointers

The British Civil Aviation Authority is calling for people found carrying powerful laser pointers to be arrested, even if they're not being used.

Chief executive Andrew Haines says new legislation is needed to cut the number of laser attacks on planes.

"People need to understand they are not toys and pointing them at an aircraft can dazzle and distract the pilot at a critical stage of flight, endangering passengers, crew and people on the ground."

CAA UK figures show there were 1439 laser attacks on aircraft last year.  The most common target was Heathrow Airport, following by Birmingham and Manchester.

It's currently an offence to act in a way "likely to endanger an aircraft" and there's a lesser offence of shining a light on an aircraft but the government is looking to make changes to the law.

Anyone in the UK convicted of shining a laser at an aircraft could face a fine of NZ$4500.

New Zealand's CAA told Newshub there have been 192 laser strike incidents in New Zealand in the past two years.

It says New Zealand already has legislation that targets possession.  

The Possession of High-Power Laser Pointers Amendment Act 2014 makes it illegal for anyone to have a high-power laser pointer in a public place. 

Offenders face a maximum three months in prison or a $2000 fine.