NIGEL NEL­SON ROB GRANT

Liq­uids could be classed as poi­son

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY AND Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

HOUSE­HOLD clean­ers con­tain­ing acid could be­come as hard to buy as poi­son in a bid to halt at­tacks.

UK home sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd will re­view whether cor­ro­sive liq­uids should be cov­ered by the 1972 Poi­sons Act. For the most dan­ger­ous sub­stances shop­pers would need a li­cence to buy and stores a li­cence to sell – as hap­pens now with ni­tric acid.

Shop­keep­ers would have a le­gal duty to call a po­lice hot­line if they are sus­pi­cious about a cus­tomer.

Ms Rudd, who will set up a White­hall com­mit­tee to probe the crime­wave, said: “It is vi­tal that we do ev­ery­thing we can to pre­vent these sick­en­ing at­tacks.”

PROOF

Pro­pos­als in­clude mak­ing buy­ers show proof of age – as a fifth of at­tack­ers are un­der 18.

Pur­chases may have to buy by card, so buy­ers can be traced.

Car­ry­ing acid is likely to carry a max­i­mum jail term of four years.

New statis­tics ob­tained by the Sun­day Mir­ror re­veal 1,375 at­tacks na­tion­wide since the start of 2015.

But the toll is likely to be around 2,000 as only 29 of 44 po­lice forces pro­vided data. At­tacks dou­bled in the four years to 2016 with a 48% in­crease be­tween 2015 and 2016.

Labour MP Stephen Timms, who will lead a de­bate in the Com­mons to­mor­row, said: “It’s an ex­ces­sively high num­ber.

“There is a se­ri­ous wave of fear in my con­stituency among peo­ple who feel it just isn’t safe to walk the streets any more. It is clear from the scale of it that we need changes in the law.”

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