Newham has highest rate of acid attacks in London, figures show

Acid is increasingly being used as a weapon

Acid is increasingly being used as a weapon - Credit: Archant

More acid attacks have been carried out in Newham than in any other London borough in the past three years, new figures have shown.

Metropolitan Police data shows that between January 2015 and October 2017 there were 289 violent offences involving corrosive fluids in the borough.

Of these, 76 were committed in 2015, 133 in 2016 and 80 in the first 10 months of 2017.

The figures, obtained by Conservative London Assembly member Steve O’Connell, found that the rate of acid attacks in Newham was almost triple the next highest borough - Tower Hamlets, with 98 incidents - and more than the three East Area BCU boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge combined, which saw 264 incidents.

It also revealed that across the capital, the number of violent offences involving a corrosive fluid rose from 260 in 2015 to 429 in the first 10 months of last year.

But only 19 per cent of offences committed in 2017 have resulted in a charge, down from 25pc in 2015.

Additionally, no suspect was even identified in 37pc of last year’s incidents.

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It also revealed that younger people are most likely to be a victim, with more than half being between the ages of 10 and 29. Victims were also found to be predominantly white European or African Carribean.

The suspects, meanwhile, are predominantly male - 70pc - with just 3pc female and police unsure of the gender of 27pc.

They, too, are most likely to be younger, with 45pc of suspects last year falling within the 10-19 age bracket.

Mr O’Connell, the Greater London Assembly’s spokesman for policing and crime, said: “What these figures do is paint a clear and disturbing picture of the scale and circumstance of these horrific offences.

“This data suggests that acid attacks, as with knife crime, are a youth-related issue. If we are going to get serious about preventing this rise we need to tackle the root causes of these attacks.”

Last year’s incidents included an attack on a moped rider near Stratford International on the evening of July 13.

Derryck John, 17, from Croydon, last week admitted carrying out this and five other assaults in east London witin just two hours. He will be sentenced on March 9.