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Government plans to stop acid attacks ‘don’t go far enough’, says East Ham MP Stephen Timms

PUBLISHED: 14:51 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:25 23 January 2018

MP Stephen Timms (left) with acid attack victim Jabed Hussain and Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs in call for tougher government action to stop attacks. Picture: LBTH

MP Stephen Timms (left) with acid attack victim Jabed Hussain and Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs in call for tougher government action to stop attacks. Picture: LBTH

LBTH

A call for more drastic measures to stop acid attacks than the government is prepared to undertake has been made in a joint campaign by both East Ham’s MP and the mayor of neighbouring Tower Hamlets.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms calls for tougher legislation East Ham MP Stephen Timms calls for tougher legislation

The government plans legislation to make it illegal to carry acid without good reason, the same as carrying a knife, and introduce an age limit on buying corrosives.

But MP Stephen Timms has issued a joint appeal with Mayor John Biggs urging Downing Street to go further.

They want cash payment for corrosive products banned so that debit or credit card purchases are traceable.

Their demands also call for manufacturers to make products less corrosive and made thicker so they are harder to spray or throw and for retailers to register with local authorities.

‘‘Acid attacks are an abhorrent form of violence,” Mr Timms said. “They have prompted a wave of fear and anxiety that it might no longer be safe to walk down the street.

“The public is entitled to expect government ministers to act decisively and urgently.’’

Voluntary ‘acid charters’ have already been started by some local authorities for shops to stop selling corrosive products over the counter to anyone under 18 — but they fear these don’t go far enough and need tough legislation as back-up.

Mayor John Biggs said: “This is an issue which cuts across borough boundaries and needs the full range of measures we called for.”

Their campaign follows a wave of attacks last summer including six moped and motor-scooter riders hit in one night.

Acid attack victim Jabed Hussain showing scars now healing thanks to wearing his moped safety helmet. Picture: Mike Brooke Acid attack victim Jabed Hussain showing scars now healing thanks to wearing his moped safety helmet. Picture: Mike Brooke

One victim, food-delivery rider Jabed Hussain, 32, was sprayed with acid when he stopped at traffic lights and had his moped stolen. Only his riders’ safety helmet saved him from being blinded.

Jabed, still under medical care, has become a ‘champion’ of the campaign with the MP to press for tougher legislation.

The young thug arrested for all six attacks that night in Stratford, Shoreditch, Clapton and Highbury admitted in court to throwing corrosive liquid with intent to disable, burn, maim and disfigure as well as robbery. He is being sentenced on March 9.

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