Following the despicable acid attacks that took place in Wycombe earlier this summer, I wrote to the responsible Minister about the need for tougher sentencing and consideration of the restriction of sales.
I was very pleased to receive a response from the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability. The Minister robustly stated the Government’s position that:
there is no place in our society for these sickening attacks. Attacks on people involving acids or other corrosive are a serious matter that can result in huge distress and life-changing injuries.
The Government announced a cross-government plan to tackle the use of acid and other corrosives in violent attacks. The key actions include:
- Assessing whether powers available to courts are sufficient to deal with these offences
- New guidance given to police officers on preventing attacks
- Reviewing the Poisons to consider whether it should cover more acids and harmful substances
- Working with retailers to agree voluntary measures to restrict sales of acids and other corrosive substances.
- The Crown Prosecution Service has issued interim guidance to prosecutors on the carrying and use of acid and other corrosives in violent attacks.
These attacks are utterly unacceptable in our society. I am pleased that the Government is taking such a proactive stance about this matter, but I will be interested to hear further from the Minister when she updates MPs about the progress made with the action plan. If you wish to view the Minister’s letter, please visit this link: Acid Minister Letter 040917.