The frequency of acid attacks in London has turned parts of the British capital into “no go zones”, a former Labour minister has said.
The United Kingdom has “the highest rate of attacks per capita” in the world, claimed Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, in comments to fellow MPs reported by the Daily Mail.
Figures show the number of acid attacks in Britain shot up between 2012 and 2016 by more than 500 per cent. There were just 73 recorded attacks in 2012 but a massive 469 in 2016.
“The UK now has one of the highest rates of recorded acid and corrosive substance attacks per capita in the world and this number appears to be rising,” admitted Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) lead on acid attacks, earlier this month.
Politicians had been debating the UK’s problem with acid attacks on Wednesday, and Mr. Timms demanded the government take “significant action”.
He said: “I’ve had a number of discussions with representatives of moped delivery drivers and they say there are now parts of London where their drivers are not willing to go because of the danger of attack.
“I think all of us would regard it as unacceptable that there are no go areas in parts of London and parts of the UK. I think it requires some significant action to deal with the problem.”
London, 2017 😟 https://t.co/DQH0Tl7MGR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 7, 2017
Crime across England and Wales surged by 13 per cent in the year ending in June this year, with violent crime shooting up even more steeply. Offences of violence against the person, for example, increased by 19 per cent on the previous year.
Labour MP for West Ham Lyn Brown joined Mr. Timms in his calls for action during the debate, demanding much tighter regulation.
She claimed that initial steps to counter acid attacks “had been positive”, adding: “changes were made to the law in 2015 as part of the Deregulation Act, the red tape bonfire.
“The Act scrapped the obligation on sellers of dangerous substances, including acids, to be registered with their local council.
“This was despite opposing advice from the medical experts as well as the Government’s own advisory board on dangerous substances. I fear that these changes are partly responsible for the rise in acid attacks.”
In August, London police said they had identified “emerging links” between violent gang crime in the city and the surge in acid and moped attacks across the London area.
Gangs and organised crime groups were increasingly deploying corrosive liquids as a weapon, London’s Metropolitan force said.