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Just one held in two years for 'being drunk on plane'

By Neil Lancefield

Published 27/05/2016

Only one person has been arrested by the PSNI on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the past two years, figures reveal
Only one person has been arrested by the PSNI on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the past two years, figures reveal

Only one person has been arrested by the PSNI on suspicion of being drunk on a plane or at an airport in the past two years, figures reveal.

Hundreds of passengers have been arrested by other UK police forces in the same period police statistics show.

At least 442 people were held between March 2014 and March 2016.

The PSNI made one arrest after it was suspected that a passenger was drunk on a plane, and none in any local airports for the same offence.

Other cases include drunk passengers accused of attempting to open the doors of a plane, smashing a window and banging on the outside of the cockpit.

Alleged incidents at airports include a man headbutting another person after being refused permission to fly, and a passenger at Luton Airport smashing a barrier and kicking out a door panel after he missed his flight.

Shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood described the figures as "extremely concerning".

She said: "Drunk passengers on flights can pose a real safety risk, and they can create an unpleasant or even intimidating environment for other passengers and air crew. The new statistics suggest that more needs to be done to tackle the problem."

Figures obtained following freedom of information requests show 77 people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft in 2014/15, followed by 73 in the subsequent 12 months.

Passengers convicted of being drunk on an aircraft can face a fine or up to two years in jail.

For the police forces that gave information, a further 143 arrests were made relating to alleged drunkenness at airports in 2014/15, with 149 the year after.

This included arrests for being drunk and disorderly, while a small number were held on suspicion of being drunk or under the influence of drugs or an "intoxicating substance".

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