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Christian MP calls for stronger laws following acid attacks

Mon 17 Jul 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

The Labour MP and Christian, Stephen Timms will lead a debate in Parliament Monday evening calling for measures to tackle an alarming rise in acid attacks.

There were over 450 such crimes in London last year, a big rise from 261 incidents in 2015. And a third of these crimes occurred in Timm's constituency of Newham.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour he called for a change in the law.

He said: "Carrying acid should be a criminal offence in exactly the same way that carrying a knife is already a criminal offence.

"That change was made in the law in respect of knives; I think that change has been effective; I think we now need to make the same law in respect of acid."

Timms will also argue at the debate that people should be required to have a licence to buy sulphuric acid.

"I'm hoping that we can introduce these changes and that can provide further reassurance because the truth is people should feel absolutely safe and free to walk about the streets in their home area," he said.

The MP attributes the rise in acid attacks to the smaller risk of carrying acid than carrying a knife or a gun.

The Government's already suggested those who commit the crime in England and Wales could be given life in jail - through using dangerous weapons.

The Home Secretary has indicated acid attack convictions could soon carry life sentences as a crackdown on corrosive substances was unveiled by the Government.

Amber Rudd warned that an overhaul of current guidelines would ensure those who use noxious liquids as a weapon "feel the full force of the law".

She wrote in the Sunday Times: "I am clear that life sentences must not be reserved for acid attack survivors."

Proposals to ensure acid and other corrosive substances can be classed as dangerous weapons are among the changes included in the shake-up.

@sarah_cobbold/PA Wire
A 16-year-old boy is due in Stratford Youth Court charged in connection with five linked acid attacks which took place in less than 90 minutes in London. The teenager is charged with 15 offences including grievous bodily harm and possession of an item to discharge a noxious substance, the Metropolitan Police said.
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