England has emerged as a hot spot for acid attacks in recent years, with more than half of incidents taking place in the capital.
The British capital saw 454 acid attacks reported last year, up from 261 in 2015 and 166 the year before. Hundreds of attacks in the British capital every year that have prompted government intervention and left the city’s police force asking the public for help to tackle the crime wave.
Newham, in East London, had three times more acid attacks than the next highest borough, with almost 400 of London’s 1,500 reports over the last five years happening there. Many acid attacks appear to be gang-related, which helps explain the rocketing number of cases in small areas of major cities.
Criminologists believe gang members may be swapping guns and knives for acid as a weapon of choice because possession is hard to monitor — but its impact on victims can be devastating.
Dr. Simon Harding of Middlesex University, said: “Acid was once a weapon of last resort but may now be the first.
“It’s used by gangs if a business deal goes wrong or someone owes money.
“People can have a legitimate reason for having them.
“It’s not prohibitive to carry bleach, you can buy it online or any DIY stores, it’s difficult to prove any illegal motive in carrying it and you can hide it or disguise it in a drink bottle.
“A knife attack is attempted murder, but if you’re caught in an acid attack it would be GBH.”
A teenage drug dealer sprayed a man and two women with acid after suspecting they had stolen his stash of cocaine.
Fahad Abdi, 18, lay in wait for his three victims before unleashing the noxious substance on their faces in Canterbury, Kent. Abdi had been staying in the home of one of the victims for a few weeks when he fell out with the group, the court heard.
He threatened them with a knife and claimed they had stolen some of his property. Following numerous threats, he approached two of them in a street and sprayed them in the face with the noxious substance. The teen then fled the scene before returning ten minutes later to spray his third victim.
Kent Police arrested Abdi later that day at Canterbury trains station and charged him with three counts of grievous bodily harm with intent. This is just one of the many headlines you can find in London and around the UK on a daily basis. The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she had plans to ban the sale of corrosive substances to under 18s.
The policy would bring acid in line with the law on the possession of knives in a public place and anyone caught could be imprisoned for up to 4 years.
She told the 2017 Tory Party Conference: “Acid attacks are absolutely revolting.
“You have all seen the pictures of victims that never fully recover. Endless surgeries. Lives ruined.
“We are going to stop people carrying acid in public if they don’t have a good reason.”
And she will tighten up the sale of sulphuric acid – which can also be used to make extremely dangerous homemade explosives.
Shopkeepers in the meantime have also stopped selling bleach and corrosive substances to kids in a bid to stop the lethal attacks.
Police in London has been given 1000 acid crime response kits to help any victims burned with acid.
Officers are also due to get extra medical advice and protective clothing.
Jaf Shah, head of the London-based Acid Survivors Trust International, said victims were “incredibly strong, resilient and courageous individuals”.
Congratulations on your resilient acid survivor population Jaf, fix your cities problem!
Acid Attacks Plague London, What’s Really Happening
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