Current Hot Topic for September 2017
Surge In Acid Attacks in England Leads to Calls to Restrict Sales
Crimes with corrosive substances which can be bought over the counter, has doubled in the last 3 years...
The number of crimes using acid or other “noxious substances” has more than doubled in London over the last three years. There have also been notable increases in other parts of England. In the capital, the number of incidents rose from 186 between April 2014 and March 2015 to 397 in the same period in 2016-2017. The Metropolitan police said that the term “noxious substances” in their recording system mainly refers to corrosive substances and acids. Experts have linked the rise to a crackdown on the use of knives and guns, saying street gangs increasingly use corrosive substances, which are more readily available, instead.
Earlier this week a 27-year-old man suffered severe burns after being squirted with acid as he walked with a woman in Mile End, East London. Last month two Muslim cousins in East London were victims of an acid attack, which police are now treating as a hate crime. Jameel Mukhtar and Resham Khan (pictured to the right) were attacked while sitting in a car at traffic lights and both suffered severe burns. It follows an incident earlier this year when a noxious substance was launched across the Mangle club in East London, injuring 16 people. On Wednesday 5th July, a woman from Leicester who had poured sulphuric acid on her partner as he slept was ordered to pay him £19,300 in compensation.
Dr Simon Harding, a senior lecturer in Criminology at Middlesex University, described the police figures as “genuinely scary” and said it was hard to know how extreme these hundreds of attacks were. He said that in the UK the majority of attacks were men against men, although there were also some instances of substances being used as part of domestic violence. He said many cases went unreported through fear (www.theguardian.com, July 2017).
It has been reported by the Express (2015) that Katie Piper’s attacker Stefan Sylvestre was sentenced to 16 years, after her jealous ex-boyfriend requested that he carry out this vicious response. After a minimum of 6 years Sylvestre’s parole was rejected as he was deemed too dangerous to be released. Since the attack Katie has battled through 40 operations, yet has found happiness getting married and having a child. Katie had previously written of feeling horrified when she found out that her attacker was applying to freely roam the streets again. She wrote in her autobiography: “I’m the one with the life sentence. Not him! The two of them had taken so much from me, and now this man's
punishment might soon be over. He can change his identity, change his name, get a new job, a partner, move on, but I can’t. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen because it’s all over my face."
MP Amber Rudd has initiated a petition to “Prohibit the purchase of acid to those without a licence”. She states, “It is about time that the law changes for the purchase of corrosive substances - right now you can buy it easily from any hardware store if you are 18 and over. Corrosive acids like sulphuric acid are very lethal and life damaging substances. You should only be allowed to purchase corrosive substances with a licence to buy. The person purchasing should go through checks so their details are held on a database or hold a licence.” For more information on signing this petition, visit www.change.org