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Australia: NSW Police Force warns during "spike" in laser pointer strikes

From a news article by the New South Wales Police, May 5 2021:

PolAir warns about dangers of aiming laser pointers at aircraft after recent strikes

The NSW Police Force Aviation Command is warning the community about the dangers of aiming laser pointers at aircraft after a spike in recent incidents, one involving an officer whose vision was allegedly temporarily impaired.

The Command has recorded about a dozen incidents of laser pointers being aimed at their aircraft and other aircraft flying around Sydney in recent weeks.
Aviation Commander Detective Superintendent Brad Monk said police want to remind the community of how dangerous laser pointer strikes on aircraft can be.

"At no distance and in no circumstance is it safe to point a laser at aircraft."

"The laser beams can impair the eyesight of those on board and endanger the lives of the crew and the public."

"We also want to encourage more reporting of laser strikes on aircraft as not all incidents are reported to police."

It is an offence to aim a laser pointer at any aircraft or use one in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

Laser pointers with a power level greater than one milliwatt are classified as a prohibited weapon and require a permit through the Firearms Registry, if needed for work or astronomy.

"If you're caught breaking the law, we will find you and you'll be prosecuted," Det Supt Monk said.

"Remember, we have a birds-eye-view from the air and can easily identify where a laser beam is coming from."

NSW police 2021-05-05 laser strike squashed
Photo released by NSW Police Force giving a helicoper's-eye view of a laser being pointed at the aircraft. Photo from the
Sydney Morning Herald.

Late last month, PolAir8 was patrolling the Pendle Hill area when a laser pointer was allegedly directed at the aircraft on three separate occasions from a backyard in Toongabbie about 12.10am on Wednesday 21 April 2021.

The crew alerted officers from Parramatta Police Area Command, who attended a home a short time later.

Police arrested a 45-year-old man and seized a laser pointer before taking him to Parramatta Police Station, where he was charged with do act with intent to prejudice safety of aircraft.

The man was granted conditional bail and is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court today (Wednesday 5 May 2021).

Police will allege in court that a tactical flight officer, a 41-year-old male senior constable, suffered temporary blurred vision and discomfort after encountering the laser beam.