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Government may introduce licences for cleaning products in bid to thwart acid attacks

Posted on 28/07/2017 10:50
Home Secretary Amber Rudd is to review whether corrosive liquids which blind and disfigure should now be covered by the 1972 Poisons Act, which could introduce the need for identification when purchasing certain products.

Keeping in view with the rampant acid attacks lately, Government is soon to regulate the cleaning product industry introducing licenses to buy, sell or store corrosive cleaning liquids. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, will be reviewing whether to cover corrosive liquids under the 1972 Poisons Act.

Government is serious about regulating the widespread use of cleaning products that are capable of causing blindness and disfigure face/ body causing life-altering damage to the victim. The next time you set out to buy a bottle of acid to wash down the drain, you might have to produce an identification card before making the purchase. This might make buying household cleaners containing acid as difficult to buy as poison.

The government might cover corrosive liquids, capable in disfiguring victim, under the 1972 Poisons Act. 

The review is pending with Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and might result in severe restrictions on the easy availability of corrosive cleaning liquids. A Home Office license might be needed in the near future to sell such liquids, just as required with Nitric Acid, given the pending review gets a nod from Amber.  It soon might count as a legal duty to call emergency police hotline, in case you find the next customer shopping for corrosives, suspicious or shady.

The need for legalization and regulation has been called in after two teenage boys conducted cold blooded acid attacks, injuring five people in the 90 minutes attack, in London. One of the victims has suffered “life-altering injuries”. The other day, another man was attacked with acid by hooligans. He exclaimed, “His face felt like it was on fire”. Jabed Hussain (32), the takeaway delivery man, suffered from third degree burns on his lips after sharp-witted passers-by doused him with water.

There are already several NGOs, Activists and Self Help Groups working in Asian countries to rehabilitate acid attack victims. Legalizing and restricting acid selling and storing is the only way to thwart acid attacks. Plans for new laws will be debated soon in the Parliament by the MPs, with Ms. Rudd setting up a joint Whitehall commission to probe the crime wave. Ms Rudd calls acid attacks “horrific crimes”. She further adds, “It is vital we do everything we can to prevent these sickening attacks happening in the first place.”

Several key points included in the draft to crack down on the disturbing trend include:

  • Mandatory proof of age while buying acid or corrosive cleaning agents. This has been necessary since about one-fifth of the attackers are juvenile. Establishing identity of buyers also keeps a tab on any suspicious activity observed by the seller.
  • Purchases to be made only by card, to facilitate tracing of buyers in case of attack.
  • Unauthorized possession of acid could lead to a jail term of up to four years.
  • More stop and search powers to the police force.
  • Maximum life sentences to be imposed in case of grievous bodily harm with intent.

The impending restrictions have come as the statistics, obtained by the Sunday People, under the Freedom of Information Act states 1,375 attacks since 2015 in UK alone.  These shocking figures depict acid attacks have increased by twice in the last four years contributing a 48 percent rise from 2015 to 2016.

Commons debate lead, Labor Party MP Stephen Timms, explained, “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 anymore. It is clear from the scale of it that we need changes in the law.”

Acid attacks have been claiming a lot of lives and high-profile celebrities have been the victims too. The list includes TV anchor and model Katie Piper (32), who had to undergo as many as 250 surgeries to recover from her injuries caused by an acid attack in 2008. Aspiring model from East London, Resham Khan (21), was the latest target of an acid attack when she was attacked while waiting at a traffic light with her cousin. Two hooligans, in the latest case nearby Dagenham, spew a lethal substance at a young man in his early 20s after they failing at steal his bike.

Strict regulations on selling and storing corrosive substance, such as cleaning products, was long pending after the recent surge in acid related hate crimes. 


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