Acid Attacks – Their Rise, Reason and Prevention
Credits – The Sun
Image – https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/nintchdbpict000282634714.jpg?w=653&strip=all
“The number of acid attacks have more than doubled in the UK since 2012”
On 14 July 2017, Friday, two male suspects were taken in by the police in the suspicion of attacking five different people in North-East London, which also included the theft of two mopeds.
Police numbers show that the attacks including corrosive substances have increased more than twice in London since 2012, and a large part of these have taken place in London.
In November last year, Imran Khan, a Takeaway restaurant owner was attacked by some youths who were shouting racist remarks at him and asking for food and money. They threw a corrosive substance at his face when he got back into his vehicle.
He said that the pain overtook everything, and he was scared of going blind but, a shopkeeper managed to save him from any kind of long-term damage by quickly washing his face.
This is just one of the several cases that have taken place around the whole of United Kingdom. In June last month, a corrosive substance was thrown through the car window at the two cousins, Resham Khan and Jameel Khan which caused life-long injuries.
London charity Acid Survivors Trust International’s Jaf Shah says that while this way of attacking isn’t new, and can be traced back to the Victorian era, the recent rise in the figures is still very shocking, because it makes the UK, the place with the highest number of reported attacks per capita in the world.
Acid makes for a handy weapon for gang fights or confrontations, when compared to the knife. As Dr. Harding, a criminologist and expert on gangs at Middlesex University has pointed out that acid has become a weapon of choice nowadays. He also adds that the former doesn’t have any charges or laws against its possession while the latter can land a person in trouble. On top of that, when an acid attack is performed, there’s rarely any DNA evidence, and that it’s easier to get rid of a plastic bottle than a knife.
The Damage – Physical and Emotional
ACC Kearton says that the disgusting thing about acid attacks is the fact that no one carries acid around on the street for any other reason than this, that it’s pre-meditated. The intention behind these attacks is to make sure that the victim lives their whole life with it. It damages the victim emotionally and physically, scarring them for their whole life.
She also suggests that possessing acid in a different bottle than the one in which it was bought, should be an offence. We can also regulate the ages at which these can be bought. Both of these can help decrease the number of the attacks and bring justice to victims.
The Law Regarding Acid
In the United Kingdom, there are no age restrictions on buying household cleaning products that contain acid.
According to Dr. Harding, there’s no specific offence for throwing acid, and also, it’s too easily available. Until laws regarding the regulation of acid sale are passed, and are toppled with a programme of education, the attacks can’t be prevented.
Although, there’s the explosive precursors and pkisons (EPP) rules which are aimed at businesses that supply such chemicals in big quantities.
The labour MP Mr. Timms, who led an adjournment debate on Monday in the house of commons on the increase in cases of acid assaults, said that carrying a bottle without any justification, should be treated as an offence, just like the possession of a knife. We believe that this can help in preventing the attacks in the first place.
Jaf Shah has also suggested that the purchase of corrosive substances should only be allowed if they are done through cards, which can be traced back to the buyer.