Acid attacks in London are sharply increasing – in 2016, 454 acid attacks were reported, up from 261 in 2015 and 166 in 2014.
A delivery rider waiting at a traffic light was attacked by two men who sprayed acid in his face and stole his moped. Last month, a pizza delivery driver was attacked in northeast London and was left in critical condition after acid was sprayed in his face – with his helmet visor up. These attacks are just a few of the hundreds of instances in London that have left authorities asking the public for help in solving the crime wave.
New legislation in east London has instructed shopkeepers to challenge young people – since many offenders in acid attacks are in their teens or early 20s – buying acid and refuse sales if they grow suspicious of the customer’s true intentions.
Many believe turning to regulations will solve – or at least, stifle – the problem. New proposals in October force people carrying acid to prove they have a legitimate reason for doing so. There are also plans to require people buying high-concentrate sulfuric acid, like drain cleaner, to apply for a Home Office licence.
MP for Newham North East, Stephen Timms decreed:
What we cannot do is allow a situation where people feel scared to walk around the streets… that’s the position we were getting into after these attacks, people just thought it wasn’t safe to walk up and down the road anymore…