Diane Abbott: Acid attacks should be considered 'terrorist' crimes
Diane Abbott has suggested acid attacks should be considered a “form of terrorism” after a sharp rise in such incidents.
The Shadow Home Secretary called for a “new approach” to tackling the crimes, and warned that current powers were inadequate.
Two teenagers have been arrested after five people had acid thrown at them from a moped in north-east London last night.
Ms Abbott responded to the news on Twitter.
She later issued a statement which deleted any reference to terrorism.
The Labour MP said: “The recent spate of acid attacks have shocked the nation, but sadly they are nothing new. With a steady rise in attacks since 2010 and a steep increase of 70% from 2015-6, it is clear that the Government urgently needs a new approach to this heinous crime.
“Just like knives and guns, acid is being used in murders, robberies and rapes. The problem is the weapon of choice is often a common household product. With very few prosecutions it is clear that we do not have the tools necessary to investigate and prevent these attacks.
“Whilst the Tories arrogantly insist that they have protected the police budget, the reality is they have cut numbers by over 20,000, leaving our forces overstretched as they work tirelessly to keep the public and our communities safe.”
Her intervention comes after Labour MP Stephen Timms called for carrying acid to be made a criminal offence, in the same way it was made illegal to be in possession of a knife.
“I think there's been a pretty effective change – I think the same change should be made for acid,” he told the Today programme.
“I think that the sentences for attacks of this kind should be reviewed, the guidelines for sentencing.
“I think we should have tougher and also more consistent sentences for those who are found guilty of carrying out these attacks.”