Politicians call for action over Newham acid attacks
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The mayor of Newham and the MP for East Ham have spoken out after a spate of attacks using acid and other noxious substances in east London.
These include an attack in Tollgate Road, Beckton, last month, where student Resham Kay and her cousin Jameel Muhktar suffered “life-changing” injuries after acid was thrown over them as they sat in their car at a set of traffic lights.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “I am told that the police have identified one attack in Beckton that is being dealt with as a hate crime, which of course I, and this council, and this community, utterly deplore and condemn without hesitation.
“Lead councillors and officers from the council are working closely with the Borough Commander, Ch Supt Ade Adelekan, to offer reassurance to our residents.”
He added: “I welcome recent changes to introduce tougher sentences for those found guilty of possession, or violence involving knives.
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“However police inform us that it is likely that violent criminals are now using alternatives – and noxious liquids, carried in innocent looking bottles or containers – seem to be a new preferred, if horrific, substitute.
“I would call on law makers to recognise this and change sentencing guidelines around the possession and use of noxious substances in a similarly uncompromising way.”
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There have been 415 acid attacks reported in Newham between 2010 and March this year.
Neighbouring Barking and Dagenham saw 157 reported incidents in the same period.
Stephen Timms confirmed that he has written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, to ask whether the Government will look at restricting sales of corrosive acids, and if a licensing scheme could be introduced for those purchasing particular corrosive substances.
“I am deeply troubled by the spate of acid attacks in Newham,” the MP said.
“I will be working with [West Ham MP] Lyn Brown and other colleagues in the House of Commons over the coming weeks to force ministers to consider more stringent controls on the sale of noxious substances.
“We need to ensure that local residents can again move freely around our area, without fear of attack.”