Parliament To Debate The Issue Of Acid Attacks On Monday

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On Monday 17 July Labour MP Stephen Timms, whose East Ham constituency has seen a number of acid attacks, will lead an Adjournment Debate on the growing issue.

Timms made his anger clear by calling for tougher punishment on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, by stating ”carrying acid should in itself be an offence in the same way that carrying a knife was made an offence several years ago.”

Under current legislation, if police stop someone carrying acid they have to prove intent to cause harm. The tightening of knife laws several years ago saw a drastic reduction in the number of people carrying and using knives in a matter of months. Available official statistics did suggest it has fallen since the mid-1990s, but the Government concedes the limited figures are far from reliable. Over the years the UK has seen a continuing spate of knife attacks – a ban on so-called ‘zombie knives’ last year highlighted the action that must be taken to prevent deaths.

The MP went on to say that said stop-and-search procedures should be reviewed in light of the attacks, following the decline of its use since widespread accusations of racial prejudice.

The Metropolitan Police said that a total of five attacks with corrosive liquids were made in under two hours on Thursday night, with dangerous substances thrown over people in various locations in Hackney, Stoke Newington and Islington.

Acid attack victim Adele Bellis was disgusted after her ex-boyfriend Anthony Riley walked out of prison, just two-and-a-half years after committing the vicious crime.

The sale of certain types of acid (and other dangerous chemicals) is governed by the Poisons Act 1972, as amended by the Deregulation Act 2015. The 1972 Act draws a differentiates between “regulated” substances and “reportable substances”. Currently, substances such as sulfuric acid can easily end up in the wrong hands due to its extensive accessibility – some MPs hope the debate will bring harsher punishments to those using such substances with the purpose of inflicting pain and terror.

Assault crimes involving corrosive substances have more than doubled in England since 2012, according to a Freedom of Information request to police forces by the public broadcaster BBC.