Home sec­re­tary an­nounces ‘ac­tion plan’

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - NEWS -

POLITI­CIANS in­clud­ing the Home Sec­re­tary and Mayor of Lon­don are call­ing for ac­tion af­ter an in­crease in the num­ber of acid at­tacks, par­tic­u­larly in Lon­don.

On Thurs­day July 13, five men were at­tacked with acid in less than 90 min­utes by two peo­ple on a moped.

A 16-year-old boy from Croy­don has been charged with 13 of­fences in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent, all of which he de­nies.

In west Lon­don alone there have been 72 at­tacks in the past three years, while Metropoli­tan Police recorded 833 crimes involving “nox­ious or cor­ro­sive liquids”, or where the sus­pect caused ex­plo­sions or threw cor­ro­sive flu­ids with in­tent to harm.

In a let­ter in the Sun­day Times, home sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd ad­dressed the cap­i­tal’s con­cern over the at­tack by an­nounc­ing an “ac­tion plan”.

She plans to re­view Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice guid­ance to re­clas­sify acid and other cor­ro­sive sub­stances as dan­ger­ous weapons, as well as look­ing into whether more chem­i­cals should be pro­scribed un­der the Poi­sons Act.

She is also seek­ing tougher pros­e­cu­tion, adding “life sen­tences must not be re­served for acid at­tack sur­vivors”.

“Be as­sured, this govern­ment, work­ing with law en­force­ment and oth­ers, will take ac­tion,” she added.

Lon­don mayor Sadiq Khan called for a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach, fo­cus­ing on tougher sen­tenc­ing and sanc­tions, and clar­i­fied guide­lines for judges and a clam­p­down on sales of cor­ro­sive sub- stances. He is also call­ing for in­creased vic­tim sup­port, not­ing the im­pact the dis­fig­ure­ment can have on in­no­cent vic­tims.

“Acid at­tacks are cal­lous and hor­rific and my thoughts are with all those af­fected,” he said. “The emo­tional im­pacts of dis­fig­ur­ing and life­long scar­ring are truly dev­as­tat­ing for in­no­cent vic­tims.

“The Metropoli­tan Police take these at­tacks ex­tremely se­ri­ously and are do­ing ev­ery­thing in their power to tackle them. How­ever, we need a new zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach as a coun­try if we are to rid the streets of this scourge.

“I am pleased that the Home Sec­re­tary seems will­ing to take ac­tion and I urge her to change the law to recog­nise peo­ple are now car­ry­ing these dan­ger­ous sub­stances with the in­ten­tion of us­ing them as an of­fen­sive weapon.

“I also want to see the in­tro­duc­tion of tougher sen­tenc­ing for those who think that is ac­cept­able to do so. Just like a knife can be used law­fully in our kitchens or un­law­fully by crim­i­nals, many of us use house­hold clean­ing prod­ucts in our daily life.

“We now have to say to man­u­fac­tur­ers and those in re­tail that they need to be more re­spon­si­ble and that means the govern­ment look­ing at a change in how these prod­ucts are sold. It is also im­por­tant that we clar­ify sen­tenc­ing guide­line for judges so that the full force of the law can be ap­plied.”

The 16-year-old charged in con­nec­tion with the July 13 in­ci­dents was charged with GBH with in­tent, pos­ses­sion of a weapon de­signed to dis­charge a nox­ious liq­uid, two counts of rob­bery, four counts of at­tempted rob­bery and five counts of at­tempted GBH with in­tent. He also faces an­other charge of rob­bery of a moped on June 25 in a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent, which he also de­nies.

The boy ap­peared at Strat­ford Youth Court on Mon­day and was re­manded in cus­tody to ap­pear at Wood Green Crown Court on Au­gust 14.

One man sus­tained “life-chang­ing” in­juries in the at­tacks on July 13

Home sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.