Ministers prepare tougher sanctions after spate of acid attacks
Ministers will propose new restrictions on the sale and possession of corrosive substances in the next few days following a spate of acid attacks in London.
Five people had acid thrown in their faces from a moped in north-east London on Thursday night. The Home Office is under pressure to impose tough new sanctions, and ministers are considering laws that would treat some substances the same way as knives. This would restrict their sale to under 18s and mean that they could not be carried in public without good reason.
A plan will be published by the end of the weekend, The Times reports, and will also examine whether those convicted of acid attacks should face tougher sentences.
Following Thursday’s attacks. Diane Abbott said that acid attacks should be considered a “form of terrorism”.
Theresa May’s spokeswoman said yesterday: “We are working with the police to see what more we could do. The prime minister’s view is that the use of acid in this way is horrific.”
Home Office minister Sarah Newton admitted that regulating corrosive substances could prove tricky because they “are under everyone’s kitchen sinks”.
Labour MP Stephen Timms said carrying acid should be an offence. The purchase of sulphuric acid should be licensed, he added.
He said: “We could certainly come up with arrangements that would allow people to use sulphuric acid in the normal way, perhaps with the benefit of a licence. But simply walking around the street with a bottle of sulphuric acid, that should be an offence.”