MP joins This Site’s call for curbs after London acid attack spree

Drivers and police in the street after officers said two men on a moped had carried out a string of acid attacks [Image: Sarah Cobbold].

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East Ham MP Stephen Timms has called for carrying acid on the streets to be criminalised after the latest string of attacks in London.

He joins Green MP Caroline Lucas, who called for the sale of corrosive substances to be controlled last week.

This Site has also been calling for legislation to prevent this abominable crime.

Mr Timms told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he will argue at a parliamentary debate on Monday that regulations surrounding acid should be overhauled “very quickly”:

“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.

“Many people do use sulphuric acid for DIY for drain clearing – purposes of that kind – 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.”

(Source: London acid attacks: Carrying corrosive fluid should be an offence, says East Ham MP)

Mr Timms’s comments follow a 90-minute acid attack rampage on the evening of July 13, in which five separate attacks took place – all attributed to two men on a moped.

First, a moped rider was approached by two male suspects as he rode on the Hackney Road junction with Queensbridge Road. They tossed acid into his face before one of them jumped on to his vehicle and drove away.

The pair allegedly sprayed another victim with acid on the Upper Street junction with Highbury Corner in Islington, shortly afterwards.

A further victim was attacked by two men on a moped on Shoreditch High Street, having liquid thrown in his face.

The attackers appear to have struck again shortly after, launching the corrosive substance at a man on Cazenove Road and causing “life-changing” injuries.

Finally, another man was attacked as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road. After spraying the liquid in the victim’s face, the moped was stolen and both attackers left the scene (details from The Guardian‘s report).

A person aged 16 has been arrested following the attacks.

That’s right – the suspect is only 16 years of age.

Clearly something has to be done to stop the increase in acid attacks, and it is welcome that a member of Labour has added his voice to the Green Party’s only MP.

Why are the Conservatives silent? When can we expect them to bring forth legislation? It should be a matter of urgency.

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3 thoughts on “MP joins This Site’s call for curbs after London acid attack spree

  1. Zippi

    What is worrying is that people seem to think that using this level of violence to deal with issues is acceptable behaviour. Whatever happened to discourse (I’ve mentioned this before)? Argument? Debate? If things got heated, there were always fisticuffs but unprovoked attacks? Stabbings, shootings, ACID(!) What has become of us and our society? This kind of thing was unheard of in my youth, which was not a million years since yet, this is the world into which our children and our juniors have been brought. Who laid these foundations for them? What effect must this have on their worldview and understanding of how to deal with disagreements? £ook at the bile and vitriol that pervades Social Media platforms. £egislation is one thing but these latest attacks must be seen as part of a bigger whole and it is that which must be addressed. Short term measures, which are often and sometimes necessarily reactionary, to deal with incidents, or phenomena in isolation are one thing but I believe them to be part of a bigger, more disturbing trend and it is this which must be addressed. I have often used the phrase, Education, not £egislation. I suppose prevention is better than cure is another expression. Where is this behaviour being learnt and why are the consequences of such behaviour not met? I have said that there are 3 things, which our youth lack… Responsibility, self-respect and knowledge and understanding of consequence. This is a broad statement but on the whole, society is not engendering these things. We cannot have an “anything goes” society, or we will reap our reward.

  2. leonc1963

    Perhaps Govt should use Statutory Instrument for the benefit of the public for once and use to to impose tighter controls on its sell with accurate details of who sold too as well as making it a criminal offence to be carrying it on the street and in vehicles without documentation for it and what it is being used for

    Indeed there is much Govt can do and do it quickly I hope to see an EDM soon

  3. wildswimmerpete

    Stephen Timms ““Many people do use sulphuric acid for DIY for drain clearing – purposes of that kind” is utter twaddle, in fact dangerous twaddle. Mr. Timms obviously has no knowledge of basic schoolboy chemistry. Sulphuric acid is seldom used to clear drains however some toilet cleaners contain sodium bisulphate (aka sodium hydrogen sulphate) NaHSO4. You find it children’s chemistry sets (I’ve got mine from 1960) because a solution of it acts as dilute sulphuric acid but without the corrosivity. Battery acid (20% sulphuric acid) is too weak to cause serious damage to the skin. That’s what is generally available by retail to the public.

    Concentrated strong acids have never been available to the general public. You need a trade account or other accreditation to buy them from a wholesaler. What IS generally available is caustic soda, sold as pellets by the kilo to anyone who asks for it because caustic soda is widely used for drain cleaner. Many drain blockages are the result of fat buildup. A strong caustic soda solution saponifies the fat to a form of soap that is soluble – in fact that’s how soap is manufactured. A strong solution of caustic soda will have your skin off within minutes. When I worked in a lab I was fairly cavalier with acids but was very careful around caustic soda. I have a belly feeling that it was caustic soda that was involved in this incident because it’s so horrifically easy to obtain.

    My own feeling is that sales of caustic soda need licensing and only available to professional drain cleaners like Dynorod. A faceful of strong caustic soda solution will cause untold damage. Meanwhile the blink response usually protects the eyes during such an attack however should any strong acid or strong alkali reach the eyes than serious damage will result.

    Finally never mix toilet cleaners. Mixing an “acid” cleaner with household bleach will produce copious quantities of chlorine gas. You really don’t want that to happen!

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