Acid attacks ‘making parts of London NO-GO zones’ warns MP
PARTS of London have become “no-go” zones because an acid attack epidemic is raging out of control, an MP has warned.
FROM: Daily Mail
Stephen Timms made the warning in a Commons debate on the crime, which has soared in recent years.
And Mr Timms said moped delivery drivers were being particularly targeted and now avoided parts of the capital.
The Labour MP for East Ham said: “They say that there are now parts of London where their drivers are not willing to go, because of the danger of attacks.
“I think that we would all regard it as unacceptable that there are no-go areas in parts of London and the UK.
“Significant action will be required to deal with the problem.”
Labour MP Lyn Brown said the epidemic could only be slowed with tougher regulations on the sale of corrosive substances.
She said: “A number of changes were made to the law in 2015 as part of the Deregulation Act, the red-tape bonfire.
“The Act scrapped the obligation on sellers of dangerous substances, including acids, to be registered with their local council.
“This was despite opposing advice from the medical experts as well as the government’s own advisory board on dangerous substances. I fear that these changes are partly responsible for the rise in acid attacks.”
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said she would discuss with officials a proposal to change the minimum age for buying acid from 18 to 21.
Elsewhere, Ms Atkins said a set of voluntary commitments for retailers would be announced shortly, with work also under way to improve the response by emergency services.
The debate was held after Arthur Collins, the former boyfriend of TOWIE star Ferne McCann, was handed a 20-year jail sentence for spraying acid in a nightclub.
Collins, 25, was jailed on Tuesday after a hurling a corrosive substance over a crowd of revellers at the Mangle E8 nightclub in Dalston, east London.
Sentencing him, Judge Noel Lucas said Collins had carried out a “deliberate and calculated attack”.
16 people suffered chemical burn injuries in the incident and three people were temporarily blinded – one of whom still suffers from blurred vision in one eye – of which 14 were the subject of charges.
Collins, the father of Ms McCann’s baby daughter Sunday, had told his trial he did not know the bottle contained acid, believing it to contain a liquid date rape drug, which he had snatched from two men after overhearing them planning to spike a girl’s drink.
But a jury at London’s Wood Green Crown Court convicted him of five counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and nine counts of actual bodily harm.
According to the National Police Chiefs Council, the UK now has one of the highest rates of acid attacks in the world and the number is on the increase.