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View from the house: Make acid laws even tougher

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 August 2018

Archant

Acid attacks, and violent crimes involving other weapons, are abhorrent. They cause deep scars, and undermine trust and good faith in our communities.

Last summer, we were all shocked by the acid attack in Beckton. Two cousins sitting in a car had acid thrown over them and suffered serious injuries.

At the time, I called for government to make it an offence to carry acid around, in exactly the same way it is already an offence to carry a knife. It’s taken a while, but I am very pleased the government has now introduced the Offensive Weapons Bill, which makes that change. In September, I will sit on the Offensive Weapons Bill Committee. The committee’s job is to scrutinise the bill, and suggest amendments to make it more effective. It covers three types of weapon: “corrosive substances” (ie acid), “bladed articles” and firearms. It bans sales of acid to under 18s, as well as making it illegal to carry acid in a public place. It makes it harder to buy knives online, by banning their delivery by post. It makes it an offence to threaten violence with an offensive weapon, and prohibits some firearms.

I have proposed a number of amendments to the bill, to make the law take acid attacks as seriously as knife crime. I have proposed that the age limit on purchasing acid should be 21 instead of 18; that the government should report annually on acid attacks in the UK; and that it should be illegal to threaten somebody with acid, even if the substance they are carrying is not really acid.

• Do you have any other suggestions which the committee might consider? If so, please email me before the end of August on stephen.timms.mp@parliament.uk

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