Carrying acid should be an imprisonable offense, the British Home Office has proposed. There should be a mandatory six-month prison sentence for anybody the police catch twice carrying acid in public. The number of acid attacks in the UK has increased considerably. In fact, there are now more than twice as many acid attacks in the UK than five years ago.
Amber Rudd, Britain’s Home Secretary, intends to ban the sales of corrosive substances to people under eighteen.
Over a six month period – November 2016 to April 2017 – there were 408 acid attacks in the UK. Minors were responsible for just over one-fifth of them. A minor is somebody who is under eighteen years of age.
Regarding people using corrosive substances in attacks, Ms. Rudd said:
“The cowards who use these as weapons will not escape the full force of the law.”
It will soon be an offense in Britain to carry a corrosive substance in public.
Carrying acid – onus on carrier
The onus will be on the person carrying the substance. In other words, if the police catch somebody carrying a corrosive substance, they would have to prove they had good reason. The six-month mandatory prison sentence would be for the second offence.
Put simply; if the police caught you twice carrying a corrosive substance, you would go to prison automatically.
“The measures include a new offence of possession of a corrosive substance in public without a good or lawful reason.
“It would place the onus on the individual caught in possession to explain why they are carrying it, rather than on the police to prove that it was intended to cause injury.”
“Those convicted of this offence for a second time would face a mandatory minimum sentence in line with existing knife possession laws.”
Acid attacks do not only cause considerable physical damage. They also leave the victim with serious emotional scars.
The government is also consulting experts on new offences on the sale of corrosive substances.
Furthermore, the Home Office is reviewing the Poisons Act. Ms. Rudd says we should only allow people with a special licence to buy certain types of sulphuric acid.
In other words, if the concentration were above a certain level, you would need a licence to buy it.
Video – Acid attacks in the UK
This Vice video talks about the dramatic increase in acid attacks in the UK. In fact, Britain has the worst record for attacks using corrosive substances among the advanced economies.