Police call for laser-pen study

Police superintendents yesterday called for research into the effects of laser pens, amid growing concern about their use.

At a meeting of the national executive of the Police Superintendents' Association in London, half the forces said they had received reports of pens being used to temporarily blind or distract people.

The association vice-chairman, Peter Gammon, said not enough was known about their ability to cause damage or distress to people.

"The issue is: are they being used by people to inflict distress or harm on other people? ... We think there should be a definitive examination of laser pens. I think there are sufficient laws to deal with someone who uses a laser pen. The issue is whether they should be freely available." Incidents reported include attacks on police officers, drivers, racehorses and the footballer Vinnie Jones.