The use of acid as a weapon is on the rise across the UK. In 2016, 455 crimes involving corrosive liquids were reported in London alone. Earlier this month five acid attacks took place in the space of 90 minutes across various parts of the capital including Hackney, Stoke Newington and Islington.
In response to the growing number of attacks using such harmful substances, an east London MP has called for carrying acid to be made a crime.
Under current law, if an individual is stopped by police and found to be in possession of acid, it needs to be proven that the substance is being carried with the intent to cause harm.
Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham has argued that regulations surrounding acid should be overhauled.
He said: “Carrying acid should in itself be an offence in the same way that carrying a knife was made an offence several years ago.
“I think that’s been a pretty effective change and I think the same change should be made for acid.”
The MP also believes that a licence should be required to purchase sulphuric acid. Such corrosive materials are occasionally purchased by responsible homeowners for household tasks such as unblocking drains and fertilising plants. As a result, Timms emphasises that it’s important to separate those intending to use such substances safely from those wishing to hurt, disfigure and even kill their victims. He said: “Many people do use sulphuric acid for DIY and drain clearing but just as it’s perfectly lawful to buy a knife for use in your kitchen at home… and for it to be wrapped up and safe to carry, that’s fine.
“We can certainly come up with arrangements that would allow people to use sulphuric acid in the normal way.”