January 26, 2018
THERE has been a record number of acid attacks in London in 2017, Metropolitan Police data has revealed after a freedom of information request, as street gangs are increasingly using acid to target people.
Acid attack epidemic: RECORD number of incidents in London last year, data reveals
Acid attacks have increased six-fold in the capital over six years.
The figures show that there were 465 acid attacks in London recorded in 2017, up from 395 the previous year.
Detective Superintendent Mike West, who leads the Met Police on acid attacks, said: "We do see around 25 per cent of offences in the robbery category, and this tends to be with ammonia-based substances that, while they cause injury, are less likely to be life-changing.
“Other drivers have been drug disputes and general disputes between parties.”
"We are training all of our officers to deal with first aid of victims and have placed treatment kits in all response cars across London."
Police data from the first 11 months of 2017 also shows that the acid attacks are predominantly a problem among young males.
More than 75% of suspected attackers and around 60% of victims were between the ages of 10 and 29.
Acid attack epidemic: RECORD number of incidents in London last year, data reveals
When it comes to gender, 71% of attackers and 72% of victims were also male.
The Met Police will this year deliver a prevention and awareness campaign in schools, in partnership with other emergency services.
The news has come after this month retailers including B&Q, Wickes and Tesco agreed to stop selling acids to under 18s under a government crackdown on attacks that leave victims scarred for life.

Waitrose, Morrisons, Co-op and Screwfix have also joined the voluntary scheme in a bid to curb a worrying rise in acid attacks nationwide.
Shoppers will be asked for ID when buying products containing corrosive substances.
It comes as University of Leicester criminologists began research into the motivation behind acid attacks, commissioned by the Home Office.
Acid attack epidemic: RECORD number of incidents in London last year, data reveals
Crime minister Victoria Atkins said: “I’m pleased that so many of the UK’s major retailers are joining our fight to combat this scourge.
“It is also vital we gain an insight into the motivations and behaviours of those who carry out these unspeakable attacks, which is why we have commissioned a major piece of research that will help us understand more about this crime.”
Under the scheme, potentially harmful products will be included in age-restricted sales training, with stickers put on tills asking staff to challenge shoppers acting suspiciously.
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