Stephen Timms calls for government action on acid attacks

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On Monday, Stephen will call for tighter restrictions on the sales of substances used in acid attacks. He will also ask Ministers to introduce harsher punishments for those who carry out such attacks. 

Stephen is leading an adjournment debate in House of Commons. He called for the debate after Jameel Muhktar and his cousin, Resham Khan were attacked in Beckton last month. The pair were left with severe burns which the Metropolitan Police described as ‘life changing’. It is estimated that there were over 450 acid attacks last year in London, up from 261 in 2015, although, unlike the hate crime in Beckton, almost all were connected with a crime such as burglary. 

During the debate, Stephen will ask Ministers to commit to three things: 

  1. Reclassify sulphuric acid – which is commonly used as a drain cleaner – as a ‘regulated substance’ and require a licence for purchase, as proposed by the British Retail Consortium; 
  2. Bring the possession of acid – which is not currently a criminal offence –into line with the law on possession of knives;
  3. Introduce tougher and more consistent sentences for those found guilty of carrying out acid attacks. 

Speaking in advance of the debate, Stephen said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to bring the issue of rising acid attacks to the attention of Ministers. Too many people are frightened of becoming a victim.  Ministers need to act. 

“My three requests to Ministers aim to make it harder to obtain noxious substances, and introduce tougher punishments for those who plan to use them as a weapon. 

“I am pleased that I have the support of Newham Council, and will be looking to work with others in taking this forward in the future.”