Crimes of Violence: Acids:Written question - 109629

Asked by Wes Streeting
(Ilford North)

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 25 October 2017
Home Office
Crimes of Violence: Acids
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of attacks or assaults on people involving acid in each of the last five years; and what steps she is taking to prevent such attacks.
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 30 October 2017

The Home Office does not hold the information requested and does not specifically collect data from police forces on acid and other corrosive attacks as part of its regular data collection. Acid and other corrosive attacks resulting in injury are included in Office for National Statistics published statistics within assault with injury offences and assault with intent to cause serious harm offences, but cannot be disaggregated.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council undertook a voluntary data collection from police forces between November 2016 and April 2017 and 39 forces provided returns. This found that there had been 408 cases of attacks in the six month period. These figures must be treated with caution, as they are not official statistics and have not been subject to the usual assurance processes. We are working closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on what action can be taken to improve recording and a further data collection is underway.

In July the Home Secretary announced an action plan to tackle the use of acid and other corrosives in violent attacks. This is based on four key strands: ensuring effective support for victims and survivors; effective policing; ensuring that relevant legislation is understood and consistently applied, and restricting access to acids and other harmful products. We are continuing to progress the plan.

In addition, we are currently consulting on proposals to prohibit the sale of products containing the most harmful corrosive substances to under 18s, create a new offence of possession of a corrosive substance in a public place without good reason and create a minimum custodial sentence for those convicted of a second or subsequent possession offence. We have also announced our intention to make sulphuric acid a regulated substance under Schedule 1a to the Poisons Act 1972. This would mean you will need to have a licence to purchase sulphuric acid above a certain concentration.

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