Sadiq Khan has demanded that the Government introduce a “zero-tolerance approach” to combat acid attacks. This comes after a rise in the number of attacks in London.
Later today, parliament will debate acid attacks. Khan has called for judges to sentence people convicted of carrying acid as harshly as those guilty of carrying other weapons.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd at the weekend announced a review of the response to acid attacks, this will include looking into current legislation and the access to corrosive substances. In relation to this, Khan said
“The Metropolitan Police take these attacks extremely seriously and are doing everything in their power to tackle them. However, we need a new zero-tolerance approach as a country if we are to rid the streets of this scourge.
“I am pleased that the Home Secretary seems willing to take action and I urge her to change the law to recognise people are now carrying these dangerous substances with the intention of using them as an offensive weapon. I also want to see the introduction of tougher sentencing for those who think that is acceptable to do so.
Acid attacks remain relatively rare but there has been a significant increase in London, in particular East London has witnessed the highest rise of these attacks. Last Thursday night, five connected acid attacks that took place over a 90 minute period in East London.
Khan said the attacks were “particularly frightening for those who ride a scooter”. Delivery drivers have been victims of acid attacks and they have written to Khan asking to meet to talk about the dangers of their job.
The Mayor of London is also calling for a clampdown on the sale of corrosive substances, in particular those that are more harmful industrial products. He explained “Just like a knife can be used lawfully in our kitchens or unlawfully by criminals, many of us use household cleaning products in our daily life. We now have to say to manufacturers and those in retail that they need to be more responsible and that means Government looking at a change in how these products are sold.”
Khan has asked for additional support for victims as the the impact of acid attacks can result in disfiguring, lifelong scarring.
“Acid attacks are callous and horrific and my thoughts are with all those affected. The emotional impacts of disfiguring and lifelong scarring are truly devastating for innocent victims.
“I encourage all victims of this horrific crime to come forward and report them to the police so they can take action.”
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